The Abbey Gates Hotel (formerly the deVesci Arms Hotel and Morrisseys Drapery) is located north of the Market Square on Stucker Hill, Abbeyleix. Abbey Gates presents a unified 9 bay 2-storey façade to the street, the 19th century complex appears to have been built in 2 or 3 stages; initially as a detached 3 bay 2-storey building to the south with its central hallway and principle rooms arranged each side over two floors, a single apex roof over; then extended a further 6 bays to the north with rooms front and back of a central corridor on both floors, a double apex roof over. Although it is suggested that a staging post may have existed prior to 1825 town map the first map showing the complex is the 1839 map which refers to the Hotel and shows the site as a complex of 3 buildings.


Whilst we cannot be certain of the use for the earlier part of the complex , research by local historians suggest that the complex was in use as a coach office and staging post for the Bianconi stage coaches in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The staging post provided an overnight stop for the change of horses and accommodation for the travellers.


This report was an Architectural Heritage Assessment of a planning application being made in 2014 for Change of Use of the Protected Structure from bar to retail and office use; Conservation works to the Protected Structure; Demolition of contemporary buildings behind; Construction of a large retail unit behind linked to the existing building; Car parking and ancillary works.


Dorman Architect’s Architectural Heritage Impact Assessments included historical research; architectural description and composition; a detailed inventory with photographic record; methodology guidelines for all repair and re-instatement works; an appraisal of the proposed works and concluding assessments. The initial survey was carried out in 2011 and later in 2014. In the interim period the building was subject to vandalism and suffered significant water damage, thankfully we had recorded its condition prior to the damage.