Grey Abbey

Map Reference: J583682 (3583, 3682)

The Cistercian Abbey of Jugum Dei, or Mainistir-liath, was founded by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy, in 1193. It was colonised by monks from Holm Cultram in Cumberland. It exibits early Gothic features at a time when late Romanesque work was still common in Ireland. After the Bruce wars (1315-18), the abbey was controlled by the O'Neills of Clandeboye until the dissolution in 1541.

The West Doorway

It was burned during the Elizabethan wars, but the nave was restored by Hugh Montgomery in 1607 and used for parish worship until 1778. The original cruciform church had an aisle-less nave and a pair of east chapels in each of the transepts. There is a very fine pointed west doorway which probably dates to the middle of the 13th century. There are two tiers of three lancet windows in the east wall of the presbytery.

The East Wall

The plan of the monastery is typical of the Cistercians, with the chapter house along the east side of the cloister and the refectory along the south side. There was a range of buildings along the west side of the cloister but there is now no trace of them. The roof of the chapter house was supported by six pillars but only the bases of these remain.

The Refectory

The south wall of the refectory has some fine lancet windows and there are traces of a pulpit in the west wall. The warming room was at the north east corner of the refectory. The builders of nearby Rosemount House (1762) could see the gothic ruins from their home, and in keeping with this theme they built a Gothick room in the house and a small Gothick gate lodge.

Carved masks at the Corbel Table

The interior of the church looking east Remains of Vaulting in one of the E chapels

Remains of Night Stairs Remains of Day Stairs

Remains of entrance to Chapter House Remains of Chapter House

Part of the tower-crossing Stairway within the wall of the refectory leading to the Reader's Desk

For more examples of Cistercian Abbeys click the following links

Corcomroe, Co Clare Inch Abbey, Co Down Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway Duiske Abbey, Co Kilkenny Jerpoint, Co Kilkenny Monasteranenagh, Co Limerick Abbeylara, Co Longford Abbeyshrule, Co Longford Mellifont, Co Louth Bective, Co Meath Boyle, Co Roscommon Holy Cross, Co Tipperary Hore Abbey, Co Tipperary Kilcooly, Co Tipperary Dunbrody, Co Wexford Tintern, Co Wexford Baltinglass, Co Wicklow

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