From the earliest times settlements have existed in the
area where the river Duiske flows into the river Barrow. The Gaelic
population called the place "Bun Dubhisce", the "Lower
Blackwater", and it was from this that the name "Duiske"
derived. When the great Cistercian Abbey was built early in the thirteenth
century, it assumed the name of the settlement that in turn adopted a new
name from the abbey, or at least the monks that occupied it. So it was
that the "village..", "hamlet.." or "Grange of
the monks", as Graiguenamanagh is variously translated, came to be.
The establishment of Ireland's largest Cistercian abbey,
however, made it the hub of the local community and the village grew and
prospered around it. Apart from the Normans, Graiguenamanagh has
experienced the full impact of most events in Irish history - the
Confederate Wars, 1798 Rebellion, the Great Hunger, the Young Ireland
movement, the Land Wars and more. Indeed the town was at the forefront of
what came to be known as the Tithe War. For those interested,
Graiguenamanagh's excellent library can provide a range of books, giving
greater detail on local history.
Despite the suppression of the abbey in 1536,
Graiguenamanagh continued to progress. Trade had always existed up and
down the river Barrow, and Graigue. Was continuously at the centre of
this. With the construction of the Barrow Navigation in the eighteenth
century trade increased enormously, bringing with it increased prosperity.
Today, although trade has long since ceased, the same navigation system is
bringing new prosperity to Graigue., in the form of leisure boating and