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History of Area:

The earliest recorded church in the village was in 1155. Evidence from the Archaeological Survey carried out by the OPW in 1995 suggests that this area has been visited, if not inhabited, since as early as the Bronze Age. An urn-burial found on the lands of Moyne Estate dates roughly to the same period as those found at lronmills and Ballymartin (900–1400BC). Fulachta Fiadh (early cooking sites) have been identified at Aharney and near Ballacolla. The numerous ring forts and other enclosures that dot the landscape point to a more permanent, if dispersed, settlement of the land by the Celts (500BC–500AD). At some point in pre-history, the land was part of the kingdom of Ossory, and remained so as part of Upper Ossory into the seventeenth century.

There are numerous religious settlements in the area that date back to the 6th century. While the monastery founded by St. Fintan on the banks of the Erkina is perhaps the best renowned, documented evidence exists for other such establishments at Dunmore, Clonageera, Dereen, the Course wood, Tinweir, Ballinaslee, Tubberboe and Newtown.

The coming of the Normans in the 12th century sounded the death knell for many of these Early Christian settlements and the lands were subsumed (despite heated objections from the Earls Marshall, who wanted it for themselves) into the Manor of Durrow, an Episcopal Manor for the Bishops of Ossory. Indeed, it was this development that sowed the seeds for the establishment of the town of Durrow as we now know it. In 1245, Geoffrey de Turville, the Bishop of Ossory from 1244 to 1250, was granted permission from the King to hold a yearly fair at this manor for six days beginning on St. Swithin’s Day and a weekly market on a Thursday.

After the Reformation, the manor passed into the ownership of the Earl of Ormond. In 1600, when Upper Ossory was made part of Queen’s County (now Laois), Ormond ensured that Durrow remained an enclave of County Kilkenny where he was based.[2] [3] Ormond released the manor on 19 February 1708 to “William Flower and his heirs, forever”. It was under the patronage of Flower and his descendants, the Lords Ashbrook, that the present town developed and prospered. In 1841 that it was transferred from Kilkenny to Queen’s County.[4]

Tidy Towns Information:

Durrow (Irish: Darú, formerly Darmhagh Ua nDuach) is a small town located in south County Laois, Ireland. Bypassed by the M8 motorway on 28 May 2010, the town is located on the R639 road at its junction with the N77. The river Erkina flows through Durrow and joins the River Nore about 1.5 km east of the town. The town takes its name from the Irish (Darmhagh Ua nDuach – the oak plain [in the territory] of Ui Duach). The year 2008 was a celebration of 300 years of Durrow. Many local events have been organised to celebrate the culture and heritage of Durrow. The local community website contains details of all events as well as reports. Activities in Durrow, past and present are continually recorded in a popular Facebook page.

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