A Student of History

May 26, 2007

Boyle Abbey is Great

Filed under: Historic Places,Ireland — John Maass @ 6:24 am


The next stop I made driving north from Roscommon, not very good roads at all and by this time I was getting quite weary, was at Boyle.  Here there is a great abbey, undergoing extensive renovations.  Nevertheless, it is very accessible and is an OPW site.  It is also very similar in plan to Jerpoint Abbey in Kilkenny, as both were Cistercian abbeys.

Here are some details from a website:

One of the best preserved in Ireland, this Cistercian Abbey was colonised from Mellifont in 1161. The building of the chancel, and the transepts with their side-chapels, must have begun shortly after this date, though the lancet windows in the east gable were inserted in the 13th century. There is an interesting combination of rounded and pointed arches in the transepts and crossing. The large square tower formed part of the church from the beginning, though it was raised in height at a later stage. The five eastern arches of the nave and their supporting pillars were built at the end of the 12th century, and have well-preserved capitals typical of the period. Although built at the same time, the arches of the northern side of the nave are different in type, and have differently shaped columns and capitals. The three westernmost arches in the south arcade, with their attractive leafed and figured capitals, and the west wall were built after 1205 but before the church was finally consecrated in 1218. Nothing remains of the cloister, but on the eastern side there are two doorways of c.1200, now blocked up, while on the west side there is a two-storey gatehouse, which acts as an interpretative centre. The rest of the buildings surrounding the cloister are largely 16th or 17th century in date. The Abbey was one of the most important in Connacht, and was invaded by Richard de Burgo and Maurice Fitzgerald, and Justiciar, in 1235. In 1659, the Cromwellians occupied the monastery and did a great deal of destruction.

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