The Bonamargy Friary is a small Irish monastery in ruins, located at the entrance to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. Founded in the 15th century, this monastery was actually a Franciscan convent, which hosted within its walls a prophet, or the remains of a great Irish clan chief… A place full of History and mysteries, which it is possible to discover!
The Bonamargy Convent was founded in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan, a wealthy Irish clan chief, famous at the time for his strong rivalry with another Irish family: the McDonnell clan.
The monastery consists of a small chapel. Its entrance is marked by the presence of a two-storey guardhouse which opens onto two rooms (one of which was used for the work of the monks). On the 2nd floor, stood the dormitory, a place where the men rested after their day of worship and work.
Note that the church has the peculiarity of having a small altar, where the remains of the famous chief Sorley Boy MacDonnell and the bodies of several Counts of Antrim who wished to rest there would be kept.
History also tells that the convent would have welcomed within its walls a prophet who lived in the 17th century: Julie MacQuillen known as “The Black Nun”. She was buried at the west end of the main church of the monastery. A Celtic cross with a hole in its center indicates its presence.
It is in this convent that 4 manuscripts of great value were found in 1822 in an old oak chest. One of these manuscripts dedicates its account to “The life of Christ of Saint Bonaventures” and / or “A History of the Holy Scriptures”. Another manuscript contained a large part of one of the main theological works of St. Thomas Aquinas, written on vellum, in Latin, on about 600 pages. The earliest date on it is 1338 and the latest 1380, and it originally belonged to the monastery of St. Anthony of Amiens in France.
Duration: 30 minutes