Kilkenny Castle: A Regal Encounter with History
- Ireland's Ancient East, Kilkenny, Things to do
- 22 March 2023
Boyle Abbey is a remarkable testament to the power and influence of the Cistercian order in medieval Ireland. Established in the 12th century by monks from Mellifont Abbey, with the support of the local MacDermott family, Boyle Abbey quickly became one of the most significant religious houses in Connacht.
Over the centuries, Boyle Abbey faced numerous challenges, including the devastation wrought by Cromwellian forces during their occupation of the abbey in 1659. Despite this violence, the abbey managed to survive and remained in use as a military garrison, albeit in a mutilated state.
Today, Boyle Abbey stands as an impressive example of medieval monastic architecture, with much of the original structure still intact. Visitors to the abbey can explore its many rooms and chapels, marvel at the intricate stonework, and imagine what life must have been like for the monks who once called it home.
One of the highlights of a visit to Boyle Abbey is the restored sixteenth/seventeenth-century gatehouse, which now serves as an interpretive center. Here, visitors can learn about the fascinating history of the abbey, from its foundation to the present day.
Despite the many challenges it has faced over the centuries, Boyle Abbey remains a powerful symbol of the enduring legacy of Ireland's medieval monastic tradition.