Boyle Abbey, Boyle

#3 of 10 in Historic Sites in County Roscommon
Boyle Abbey was the first successful foundation in Connacht of the Cistercian order which had opened its first Irish house at Mellifont, County Louth, in 1142.
In the 12th century Malachy of Armagh became aware of two new monastic orders in France, the Cistercians and the Cannons Regular of St. Augustine and he decided to introduce both orders to Ireland in an effort to reform the old Irish church which, both morally and organizationally, had fallen out of line with much of the rest of Christian Europe.
The first Cistercian Abbey was founded at Mellifont, Co. Louth. St. Malachy made arrangements that young aspirant Irish men who want to become Cistercians should be trained in St. Bernard’s own monastery of Clairvaux or one of its daughter houses.
The Cistercians wanted to found an abbey in Moylurg as a daughter house of Mellifont and they did try to find a suitable place. They tried Grellachdinach and Drumcunny. By 1148 the Celtic monastery of ATH-DA-LARAG had either very few monks or none at all. So Taoiseach McGreevy, a local chieftain, negotiated and gave the Celtic monastery of ATH-DA-LARAG in “pure free and perpetual alms” to the Cistercians.
The Cistercians were welcomed and given land grants of about 50000acre scattered west of the River Shannon in 27 out-farms called granges. The Cistercians respected their Celtic monastic buildings. They did not demolish them, but joined their own buildings onto the original ones at ATH-DA-LARAG.
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174 reviews
  • Wonderful afternoon weather not too bright but the visit was spot on thanks to the young guide who was top of his game. By the time I left I felt I had live at the abbey all those 100's of years...  more »
  • inexplicably, there were plenty of vans about showing that there were staff in the abbey. in fact i could see them drinking tea in an ugly facilities building located too close to the abbey. It is...  more »
  • This is an amazing place. The ruins are the most intact/preserved that I have seen so far in Ireland. Eugene and Thomas at the guest check in center are friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. Maps are given out with the highlights pointed out for you. Do not miss this one.
  • This was my favorite place amongst all the places I visited. If you are a sensitive sort, place your hand upon the walls of the Abbey. Feels like you are touching the energy of those who dwelled here centuries ago.
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