The Abbey of Leix was founded in the year 600. In 1183 it was refounded by Cocegher O'More. St. Canice occasionally resided here. There are no ruins of the abbey or of the castle, so it cannot be ascertained where either of them originally stood, but in the old village, which has been demolished, many stones of antique and peculiar workmanship were found which evidently belonged to the Abbey; and in Lord De Vesci's garden is the supposed site of the Abbey.
Close to the Abbey was the burial place of the O'Mores. A box tomb still remains. On it is a full size recumbent effigy in armour, with an inscription around the margin in Gothic lettering, in Latin, translated "Malachy O'More, Prince of Leix. May he rest in peace. Amen, 1486."
A slab tomb has a floreated cross on top and a similar inscription - "Here lieth John O'More, A.D., 1502." An ancient Baptismal Font, circular in form, and composed of granite, remains beside these tombs. That an extensive burial ground existed here is in evidence by the large quantities of human bones found in it. Some years ago a complete skeleton was discovered over seven feet in length.
The whole of the country and parts extending into county Dublin were called the country of Leix, and as was the all powerful dominion of the Church, they claimed a right to the full extent of the lands which the monastery enjoyed for some time.
Their wealth enabled them to erect and enlarge their religious buildings considerably. A town arose in the vicinity which never had any other name than that of the original one, AbbeyLeix. The Geraldines and Vescis contended for property here and Lord De Vesci owned a considerable estate.
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