The ancient seventh century church and settlement of Cluain Eaghlis grew up close to this spot beneath Lyons Hill, from where 10 Kings of Leinster had ruled during the first millennium. The Village at Lyons lies along the scenic towpath of the Grand Canal at Aylmers Bridge and Lyons Demesne. The demesne was the former home of the Aylmers, an old Kildare dynasty, and later the Lawless family who held the title of The Earl of Cloncurry.
The village derives its name from an ancient town and castle, which were both destroyed in the war of 1641. Built on the original site of this ancient fortification, The Village at Lyons fully sprang to life with the arrival of the Grand Canal, which was built circa 1756 to 1790. The canal was a vital transport link in Ireland as it was cheaper and much more reliable than road transport at the time.
The construction of Lyons House nearby in 1786 and its lavish reconstruction by Valentine Lawless in 1800-03 meant that a thriving community grew up along the canal bank. By 1850 this included a hotel, shops, a forge, a police barracks and several workshops. Joseph P. Shackleton a relation of the Antarctic explorer took over the flourmill.
In 1865 when canal traffic peaked, 90 barges a day passed through here bringing flour, local merchandise and stone from the Ardclough quarries to Dublin City.
The mill accidentally burned in 1903, the canal was closed to traffic in 1960, Lyons House was sold in 1963, and life in the village came to a halt as community activity focused instead on nearby Ardclough.
Village life was reborn after 1996 with the restoration of the first of the Village homesteads. We invite you to share in our enjoyment of this historic restoration.