Built under the patronage of Cormac MacCarthy

The Kilcrea Friary is a medieval abbey located near Ovens in County Cork. It takes its name from a 6th-century saint named Cyra who is said to have founded a nunnery near here. The friary and the nearby castle were built by the Franciscans in the mid 15th century under the patronage of Cormac MacCarthy, the Lord of Muskerry. MacCarthy was killed in battle in 1494 and was buried here. The abbey still has an aisle, a transept, cloisters, a narrow tower with a series of steep and winding stairs. The areas around the tower were once dormitories, day rooms, and kitchens. There was also a scriptorium and one of the 15th-century manuscripts written here is preserved in Rennes, France. The friary was suppressed in 1542 and raided by English soldiers in 1584 but was reoccupied by friars in 1604 who lived here right up to 1832. The friary has stayed in continuous use as a burial ground, and contains, among others the remains of the 18th-century writer Art Ó Laoghaire and the Catholic Bishop of Ross, Thomas O’Herlahy (1561–1580).