Jerpoint Cistercian Abbey

Map Reference: S573402 (2573, 1402)

Jerpoint Abbey may have been originally founded in 1160 by Donal MacGillapatrick I, King of Ossory, for the Benedictines. In 1180 it was colonised by Cistercian monks from Baltinglass. Jerpoint became the mother house for abbeys at Kilcooly and Killenny. In 1227 it became affiliated to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was proposed that the monks continue at Jerpoint and that they adopt a secular role to serve as a house of hospitality. This proposal was rejected and the property was granted to James, earl of Ormond.

There are extensive remains of a cruciform church, cloister and east range. The 15th century cloister arcade has been reconstructed on the south and west. The arches of the arcade are round and are in groups of three.

The pillars of the arches are dumbbell-shaped in cross-section. The flat faces of many of these pillars have high relief carvings featuring clerics, knights and grotesques. Many of the capitals and bases of the pillars are also carved. At the north-east corner of the cloister is a carving of St Christopher.

The cruciform church has two east chapels in each of the transepts and the crenellated tower stands to full height. There is a large traceried three-light east window which has replaced some narrow lancets. Traces of these may be seen. The north aisle of the nave has an arcade of six arches, the pillars of which have all different designs. The capitals of the pillars are richly decorated.

The wall above the pillars is pierced by large round-headed windows. Only the bases of the pillars of the south aisle arcade still exist. There are three round-headed lancets in the west wall. There are a number of tomb chests within the church.

These are richly decorated with saintly weepers and there are some high relief effigies. There are also some slabs with incised effigies and other decoration. In the south wall of the chancel is a triple sedilia and a double piscina. In the north wall there are three tomb niches.

For more photos of Jerpoint Abbey click HERE

For more examples of Cistercian Abbeys click the following links

Corcomroe, Co Clare Grey Abbey, Co Down Inch Abbey, Co Down Abbeyknockmoy, Co Galway Duiske Abbey, 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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