Ireland’s first and most important Cistercian Abbey

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 the village of Citeaux in France in 1098 with the goal of following the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monks were at the cutting edge of engineering, hydraulics, metallurgy, agriculture, and even brewing! Their style of architecture was also considered to be the most beautiful in medieval Europe. You can see the remains of a ‘lavabo fountain’ here which was used by the monks to wash their hands before dining. Over the years this abbey was attacked and burnt a number of times as it may have been viewed as ‘easy pickings’ and as a ‘foreign intruder’. It was also used as King William of Orange’s headquarters during The Battle of the Boyne in 1690.