Heritage House Museum in Abbeyleix Ireland


This was the website for Heritage House Museum in Abbeyleix, Ireland. Abbeyleix is the oldest planned estate town in Ireland. The museum in Heritage House tells the story of this town, from ancient prehistory up to the 20th century. ​The content below is from the site's 2013 archived pages.

The current website for theHeritage House Museum is: www.abbeyleixheritage.com​

The first time I visited Laois County in Ireland I was trying to track down relatives from my mother's family. I had used a Laois genealogy site to first discover some long lost relatives and then decided a trip to Ireland was in order. I visited the Heritage House Museum in Abbeyleix, the Heyward Gardens, Aghaboe Abby, the Timahoe Round Tower, and the Rock of Dunamas which was actually the remains of a large medieval castle built on an amazing rock outcrop. Recently I was looking at the photos I took of that first trip in 2012. There I am standing among the castle ruins which totally dominates the surrounding countryside. It had been a glorious day. I was wearing my hiking boots, jeans and a warm Irish made sweater along with my favorite (good luck) choker collar necklace made from hammered brass that is plated in 14K yellow gold. Its stunning emerald crystal with black enamel details made it a real standout around my neck. I work that choker collar almost every day. Although the website where I bought it says the design was inspired by ancient Eygpt, the vibrant green of the stone sang out Ireland to me. I wore it while tramping over the hillsides in Laois County, as well as to bars and clubs. Lots of people commented about. It truly was a conversation piece, to say the least. I am planning another trip to Ireland and looked up the Heritage House Museum and found it's new slick website. This time I will bring my two kids and am looking forward to enrolling them in the Kids Shipwreck Dig Workshops which sounds like loads of fun. And yes, I will be wearing my emerald crystal choker collar necklace for the trip! My husband kids me about my obsession with the choker, but I even used it as inspiration when I was renovating our home. The contemporary italian dining furniture which I chose coordinated well with the choker. The chairs had emerald green leather, with hammered brass that was plated in 14K yellow gold for a distressed look while the dinning table with its glass top was supported on a gold plated circular base. At the first dinner party I held after the entire house had been redecorated with furniture made by the most respected Italian furniture designers and manufacturers available, I wore my choker collar necklace. A colleague from my art gallery noticed the relationship. My and her little secret when I acknowledged it.

Heritage House, Abbeyleix
Abbeyleix, Co Laois, Ireland
Phone : 057 8731653

Abbeyleix Heritage House

Housed in the Old North National School, our Heritage Centre interprets the Planned Estate Town of the de Vesci Landlords, once home to the Abbeyleix Carpet Factory, where a number of hand-tufted carpets were made for the state rooms of the Titanic.


Abbeyleix Heritage Titanic Exhibition


The Titanic exhibition at Heritage House celebrates the initiative of Ivo de Vesci, the 5th Viscount, who was instrumental in setting up a very successful carpet factory in Abbeyleix in 1904. Making high quality carpets, the factory supplied carpets to Harrods in London, Marshall Fields in Chicago and supplied specific orders for the coronation of King George V, for the secretary's office in the Grandstand at Royal Ascot , for the Mansion House in Dublin and many more.
Forced to amalgamate with a factory in Kildare and losing control of the Abbeyleix factory, the Titanic connection was born out of Ivo de Vesci's determination to win back the factory. Following a personal drive to fill orders for the flagging factory, The White Star Line ordered four hand-tufted rugs for the S.S. Olympic, built at Harland and Wolff and launched in 1911. When the Titanic was being fitted out, The White Star Line, impressed with the quality of the carpets supplied to the Olympic, ordered three hand-tufted carpets for the state rooms of the S.S. Titanic.
Believing the fortunes of the factory to be on the turn, and recognising the power of advertising, Ivo de Vesci had the foresight to photograph the Titanic carpets on the looms at Abbeyleix A copy of that photograph forms part of the Titanic Exhibition, and uniquely, a photograph from the Fr. Brown collection depicting the writing room on the Titanic clearly shows one of the Abbeyleix rugs in situ on the Titanic.
The Titanic exhibition is complemented with some wonderful memorabilia which is on loan from The Shannon Ulster Titanic Society.
Abbeyleix Heritage Company is indebted to Patrick Toms for his continued support of the Titanic Exhibition at Heritage House.



Opening Hours:

Open Tuesday - Saturday, 9am-5pm
Closed for lunch Saturdays 1pm-2pm


We are located on the North or Dublin side of the town.

Admission Charges:

Adult: €3 Students/Group/OAP: €2 


sextons_house_in_derilict_condition.jpg work_in_progress.jpg
Sexton's House was the home of Bill Galbraith who served as Sexton to the Church of Ireland in Abbeyleix for over fifty years.

The tasteful restoration of Sexton's House stands as a monument to those whose vision, drive and commitment saved this historic residence.



August 2013 

Heritage Week 2013
17 - 25 August


Our new exhibition Bog Heritage will be launching on 19 August. This exhibition will help show the history that lies preserved in the bogs which cover much of Laois and reveal the cultural significance their presence had and has on the lives of so many people. This exhibition has been created with the help of Abbeyleix Bog Project.

An Art, Craft and Design Summer Camp is being hosted by Heritage House from 19-25 August. This camp is being held by Aishling Hennessy and full details and bookings can be got by contacting her directly on 0876478677.

Heritage House is proud to host a Kids Shipwreck Dig Workshop on Tuesday, 20 August from 10.30 to 12 noon. The aim of this workshop is to give children aged 8-12 an experience of what it is like to uncover the past on an archaeological excavation and the excitement which follows the discovery of ancient treasure. This even is free of charge but please book in advance with Heritage House as places are limited.

'Hurl' a play for all ages will be held in Heritage House on Wednesday, 21 August at 2pm. Admissino to this play, which is sure to be hugely enjoyable for all the family, is free of charge and is kindly supported by Laois Heritage Office.

Funding Support:

We also receive funding support from Pobal's Community Services Programme. The centre provides a resource for the community and for visitors to the town of Abbeyleix and the County of Laois.