St Malachy of Armagh introduced the Cistercian order to Ireland after visiting the order in Clairvaux on a return visit from Rome. He was so impressed that he left 3 of his monks to train in the Cistercian ways. They arrived back in 1142 and founded Mellifont Abbey near Drogheda. By the end of the 12th century there were 40 more Abbeys. They were masters in many fields of learning including hydro engineering, architecture, farming and were probably the first Irish men to sleep upstairs in a building! They ran their own shipping lines and became so rich that they even helped fund the crusades. By the time of the reformation, they owned a million acres of Ireland. After the suppression they lost nearly all their wealth. There are now only 5 Cistercian monasteries left in the country.

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 [...]

Ireland’s first and most important Cistercian Abbey

Mellifont Abbey, Tullyallen, County Meath 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 in [...]

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

Tintern Abbey, Saltmills, County Wexford 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 Leinster [...]

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

Bective Abbey, Bective, County Meath 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 second [...]

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