The earliest record of Durrow dates back to 546 A.D. when the village - then called Dervagh - was the site of a monastery, founded by St. Columb. The earliest recorded church in the village was in 1155 when records show that a raiding party led by O'Loughlin burned the church at Darmhagh-Ua-nDuach (Durrow in Odagh, or Castle Durrow) to the ground. By the mid-13th century an urban tradition had been established as Durrow (then called Deverald) became a Norman Borough Village and was granted an urban constitution to attract settlers. In 1245 the village was given the right to hold a week-long fair in the third week of July and a market every Thursday. Parish maps show that in the mid-17th century Durrow was a parochial hamlet with eight surrounds and was owned by the powerful Ormondes.

By 1659, 105 families lived in the area. Sir William Petty's 1685 map shows that there was both a Catholic and Protestant Church in the village. The Catholic Church - which probably consisted of mud walls with a thatched roof - stood on the site of, or close to, the old Courthouse. Under the Ormonde Family, Durrow was annexed to county Kilkenny and was only returned to county Laois in 1846 by an Act of Parliament. The physical form of the village, as seen today, largely results from the great influence of Viscount of Ashbrook, William Flower, M.P. for Portarlington and local landlord who, throughout the 18th century, oversaw the construction of a planned estate village. In 1708 Flower was granted title of the lands by the Duke of Ormonde. Work started with the leasing of vacant plots around the village for the construction of new houses. The construction of the castle began in 1716 and was completed some 16 years later. Flower also extended his estate gardens, erected the castle walls and created the existing avenue approach to the castle.

The Old Stone bridge of Durrow was built in 1788 - replacing an existing wooden bridge over the Erkina River. An earlier bridge - dating back to the mid-1600s - had stood 500 yards up river. The late-18th century also saw the construction of the Catholic Church on Chapel Street (on the current site of the Old Courthouse). The 19th century saw the construction of many distinctive buildings including a Courthouse, the Castle Gate Lodge and the Obelisk (in the Castle grounds). The 1831 and 1841 Census recorded populations of 2,911 and 2,977 persons respectively. By that time there were six schools in the village and it was described as a 'small market and post village' containing an infantry barrack, an inn and a posting establishment. From the mid-19th century the flour bolting 'Mill at the Course' was operated by the Delaney family. Although the mill changed hands, it operated successfully until it closed in the mid-20th century.


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