Mellifont Cistercian Abbey

Map Reference: O013780 (3013, 2780)

Mellifont Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1142 by monks from Clairvaux who were invited to Ireland by St Malachy of Armagh. Building was commenced in 1157 and completed by about 1225.

The layout is typical of Cistercian abbeys with a large cruciform church to the north of the cloister. There were three E chapels in the transepts. The most notable feature of the cloister is the octagonal lavabo which projects into the cloister garth from the S range.

The abbey was burned early in the 14th century and parts of the nave were then rebuilt. A tower was built in the 15th century. The ruins today are mostly reduced to foundation level.

The vaulted chapter house is the only roofed building remaining. It dates from the early 13th century.

To the NE of the abbey is a four-storey building which functioned as a gate-tower. Only the NE portion rises to full height. There are projecting towers at the north and south angles with evidence of a spiral stairway within the latter. The ground floor is covered by a barrel vault but the gable walls are now missing. It is possible that this was built as a small tower house and that the gable walls were later removed to allow it to function as a gate-house. It was probably built in the middle of the 16th century.

Overlooking the abbey, on the hill to the east, is a small L-shaped church. It is known as St Bernard's Chapel, and may date from the 15th or 16th century.

For more photos of Mellifont 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 Jerpoint, Co Kilkenny Monasteranenagh, Co Limerick Abbeylara, Co Longford Abbeyshrule, Co Longford 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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