Monasterevin, with it's unusually high number of bridges, its canals and warehouses, historical reminders of an era when this quiet town was the hub of a thriving economy dominated by the Cassidys, is often called the " Venice of Ireland". Monasterevin takes its name from St. Evin who founded a monastery here in the 6th century. His famous Bell is, according to legend, in the Bell Hole in the Black River - near the Yew Tree Cemetery. His main monastic settlement flourished a mile downstream at Ros Glas. The present day Moore Abbey is thought to have been the site of the Cistercian Abbey founded in 1189. The Cistercians called it the "Valley of the Roses".

As with all Cistercian Abbeys of the time it had an enormous influence on the economy and life of the town. They provided alms, food and health services. After the Dissolution the property eventually passed into the hands of the Moores - Earls of Drogheda. They built not only Monasterevin but much of Dublin. In 1767 the sixth earl pulled down the old Ros Glas Abbey Church and used the stones in the building of the church prior to the present St. John's. The gothic-styled Moore Abbey we know today was started in the early 17th century. In 1924, John McCormack, the world famous operatic tenor leased the house from Lord Drogheda.

In 1938 the Sisters of Charity of Jesus bought Moore Abbey where they now have a training school for nurses of the mentally disabled. Other items of historical interest include Monasterevin House, the 1826 drawbridge, the Aqueduct, Bell Harbour on the waterways near the town and the former Cassidy Distillery building.