Holy Orders 1100-1500

Between c.1100 and 1500 roughly 400 new abbeys, priories and friaries were established across Ireland. These accommodated men and women who lived communally according to particular religious rules, the origins of which lay in Continental Europe. They were responsible for the introduction of new ways of pursuing religious life, social provision and land management. They also established a form of architectural planning designed for a communal life of work and prayer and became an important conduit for new artistic ideas into Ireland.

Here are some examples of Monasteries & Abbeys that were built during this period

An excellent example of an early Irish Cistercian Monastery

Boyle Abbey, Boyle. County Roscommon         1161 -  1592 Boyle Abbey was the first Cistercian monastery founded in the Province of Connacht. It was established in 1161 under the patronage of the MacDermotts [...]

The only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in Ireland

Sligo Abbey, Sligo Town, County Sligo       1252 Sligo Abbey is located right in the middle of Sligo Town. It was built by Maurice Fitzgerald for the Dominicans in 1252 and includes a great [...]

Site of the earliest known Irish Parliament & The oldest intact stone window in Western Europe

Castledermot, County Kildare    7th – 18th century a. d.    Castledermot packs a big punch for having historical buildings. This small town was originally called 'Diseart Diarmad'; meaning 'Dermot's Hermitage'. This was once a very [...]

One of the best preserved and much over-looked medieval towns in Ireland

Clonmines, Bannow Bay. County Wexford        14th - 16th centuries Clonmines probably began it's life as a Norman settlement established by William Marshall in the 13th century as an alternative port to New [...]

The ancient starting point for pilgrims for climbing Croke Patrick

This NATIONAL MONUMENT is Murrisk Abbey in co.Mayo. It was founded 1456 by the Augustinian Friars on the site of a former church reputedly founded by St Patrick. It is located near to foot of Croagh [...]

The first, largest and one of the most important Augustinian houses in Ireland

This NATIONAL MONUMENT is Clare Abbey founded in 1195. it is situated on an elevated site beside the Fergus River and was the first, largest and most important Augustinian house in County Clare. It was founded [...]

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Extreme monasticism & Star Wars!

Skellig Michael. County Kerry        c. 6th – 13th century a. d. Skellig Michael or ‘Michael’s Rock in the Sea’ is an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located 13 km off the Kerry coastline [...]

100 year old nuns attacked, stripped and beaten here

Burrishoole Friary, Newport. County Mayo         1470 This national monument is the beautiful ruin of Burishoole Abbey. It was founded by Sir Richard de Burgo for the Dominican order in 1469, who resigned his lordship and [...]

One of the first Gothic arches built in Ireland & Game of Thrones

Inch Abbey, Downpatrick, County Down          1180 Inch Abbey was established as a Cistercian house by John de Courcy and his wife Affreca in 1180 as an act of repentance for the destruction Erinagh Abbey 3 [...]

One of the best preserved Benedictine Abbeys in Ireland & the 7 wonders of Fore

The beautiful Fore Abbey is located in Fore, co. Westmeath. It was founded in 1180 by the Norman, Hugh de Lacy and is one of the best preserved Benedictine Abbeys in Ireland. The original church [...]

A round tower attached to a church & home of Diarmuid McMorrow

The Round Tower of St Mary's Abbey is located in Ferns. co. Wexford. It dates from the c.12th and stands 60 feet high. The first church at this location was founded in the 7th century [...]

Ireland’s first and most important Cistercian Abbey

Mellifont Abbey, Tullyallen. County Meath   1142 Mellifont Abbey was founded by St Malachy in 1142. This was the first, the richest and the most important of Ireland's 35 Cistercian abbeys. The Cistercian Order was established [...]

Europe’s largest collection of medieval & Celtic architecture in a single site

The Rock of Cashel, Cashel. County Tipperary      c. 1100 – 1400 a. d. The Rock of Cashel is one of the most striking monuments in Ireland and has some of the finest collections of Celtic [...]

Paranoid dreams of killer monks, Benedictines and Yew trees

Hore Abbey is located in a beautiful setting underneath in a field under the watchful eye of the Rock of Cashel in co. Tipperary. It was founded in 1266 by the Benedictine's but it was [...]

One of Ireland’s most important ecclesiastical centres

The monastery of Clonmacnoise was founded by St Ciarán in 546 a.d. and is one of Ireland's most important ecclesiastical centres. St Ciaran was a young preacher from Roscommon who in 545 a.d convinced the local [...]

William Marshall, A great storm & One of the richest Cistercian Abbeys in Ireland

Tintern Abbey, Saltmills. County Wexford         1200 The beautiful Tintern Abbey was founded in 1200 by William Marshall, the 1st Earl of Pembroke. Marshal had set sail for Ireland on his first visit as Lord of [...]

A former Norman Castle, The MacNamara’s, Cromwell and significant architectural features

Quin Abbey is located in the village of Quin in co.Clare. It dates from 1433 and was built on the site of an earlier monastery (which burned down in 1278) and soon after a Norman [...]

An Abbey with some of Ireland’s finest early architecture founded by a great King

Cong Abbey is located in Cong, co. Mayo. This national monument was founded on the former site of St Feichins Monastery by the great High King Turlough Mor O'Connor in 1135. The Abbey contains some [...]

An ingenious building & The ultimate man cave

The Monk’s Fishing House, Cong. County Mayo        c. 1500 The Monk's Fishing House is located on the former grounds of Cong Abbey. The remains of Cong Abbey have been praised as featuring some of the [...]

One of the most beautiful complete ruins in Ireland & Kissing St Francis

The Askeaton Franciscan Friary is located in the village of Askeaton beside the River Deel in co.Limerick. This National Monument is one of the most beautiful complete ruins in the country. It was founded in [...]

One of the best preserved medieval churches in Ireland

Adare Augustinian Friary is located in the historic village of Adare in co.Limerick. It was founded in 1316 and was formerly known as 'The Black Abbey' because of the black habits worn by the Augustinian [...]

A Fir Bolg King, Lighting fires & A friary on a hill

The Friary on The Hill of Slane is located just outside the village of Slane in co.Meath. This historic location was reputedly the location where the Fir Bolg King 'Sláine' is buried and also where [...]

The most fortified Cistercian monastery in Ireland, Hugh de Lacy & Braveheart

Bective Abbey, Bective. County Meath          1147 Bective Abbey is set in beautiful countryside beside a lovely old bridge over the River Boyne. It was founded in 1147 by the King of Meath and was the [...]

The Crutched Friars, Caring for the sick & St John’s Priory

St John's Priory is located on the outskirts of Trim in county Meath. It was founded 1202 by Bishop Simon deRochfort and was was occupied by a branch of monks called 'The Crutched Friars' named [...]

An Abbey for the sick and the infirm & The Crutched Friars

The Abbey of St Mary d'Urso is located in Drogheda in county Louth. This national monument is Drogheda's oldest monastic site and is known as 'The old abbey' or 'The Hospital of St. Mary d’Urso' [...]

Unique 12th century Romanesque sculptures in an historic village

Kilteel Monastic Ruins are located in the historic village of Kilteel in county Kildare. This national monument dates to the 12th century and it's Romanesque chancel arch is unique in Ireland for the fact that [...]

Howth, King Sitric & An abbey with a view

St Mary's Abbey is located in Howth in north county Dublin. Howth has strong Viking connections and it's name is derived from the old Norse name for 'Head'. King Sitric, the Norse Viking King of [...]

A Norman knight’s tomb, A 13th century abbey & An ogham stone

Thomastown is a beautiful small town located in county Kilkenny It was founded in the 13th century by an Anglo-Norman mercenary from Wales, Thomas FitzAnthony and replaced the the earlier Irish settlement of Grennan. The [...]

Clerics, Norman tombs & Beautiful medieval carvings

This national monument is St Mary's Church located in the village of Gowran in county Kilkenny. The church was served by a college of clerics who lived in a community but who did not submit [...]

One of the longest abbeys in Ireland, a hedge maze & Strongbow’s uncle

Dunbrody Abbey is located in Campile in county Wexford. It was founded 1170 on the grounds of a former Cistercian monastery under the instructions of Herve de Montmorency. Montmorency was Strongbow's uncle and when completed [...]

The first and most important Cistercian Abbey in Ireland

Mellifont Abbey located in Tullyallen in co. Meath was founded by St Malachy in 1142. This was the first and most important of Ireland's 35 Cistercian abbeys. The term Cistercian derives from Cistercium, the Latin [...]

Everyone was dying to get into this Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey is located just outside the beautiful village of Thomastown in co.Kilkenny. It was founded in 1180 as a Cistercian Abbey by the King of Osraige and is notable for its imposing central tower [...]

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