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Kells Priory owes its origins to the Anglo-Norman unification of Leinster, established by Geoffrey FitzRobert, a trusted companion of William Marshal and a household knight. The priory was one part of Geoffrey's development of the medieval town of Kells, despite its foundation in approximately 1193, extensive ruins of the priory can still be found today.

The remains include a nave, chancel, lady chapel, cloister, and associated buildings, in addition to the remnants of the priory's infirmary, workshop, kitchen, bread oven, and mill. The existence of the medieval defenses surrounding the entire precinct emphasizes the military nature of the site and inspired the local moniker, the 'Seven Castles of Kells.'