Mayo Abbey

Map Reference: M264795 (1264, 2795)

St Colman of Lindisfarne came to Ireland in 668 with all his Irish monks from Lindisfarne and Iona, as well as 30 Anglo-Saxon monks. He founded a monastery at Inisbofin. Some disputes broke out and after about three years a new monastery was founded at Mayo for the Anglo-Saxon monks. St Gerald was appointed abbot. By 1152 Mayo had become an episcopal church. It was classified as parochial in 1240 and was then collegiate until 1370. At this time the Abbey of St Michael was founded for the Augustinian Canons. After the Reformation the abbey and lands were granted to John Rawson.

There are now no traces of the early monastery. In the graveyard at Mayo there is a ruin of a church which may be part of the Augustinian Abbey. The remains consist of one wall with a pointed doorway and fragments of attached walls. The ruin is mostly covered with ivy which obscures detail. However throughout the graveyard there are stones and carved fragments which indicate the former presence of a large monastic building.

These fragments include at least two dumbell-shaped stones which are clearly part of a cloister arcade. There are several stones which are the bases and capitals of large pillars, as well as many round stones which would have formed the pillars themselves. These stones suggest that the building had an aisle arcade with at least two arches. There are several stones which may have formed the frame of a large window. Many of the stones have been re-used as grave-markers although none of them have been inscribed.

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