Although the area has been inhabited since Neolithic times, the modern town of Graiguenamanagh or “Town of the Monks” begins with the arrival of the Normans and the building of the Cistercian Abbey of Duiske in 1204. The abbey took thirty years to build and was, in its heyday, one of the largest and finest abbeys in Ireland. Duiske began to decline after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and fell into ruin over the next few centuries. A restoration to its current state was completed in the 1980s, and today Duiske Abbey acts as both a parish church and music venue. Visitors can see some of the original stonework and medieval tiles beneath the level of the current floor, as well as an exquisitely carved stone effigy of a Norman knight. A large model in the abbey shows the town of Graiguenamanagh as it would have been in the fourteenth century.