Jerpoint Abbey is a magnificent Cistercian building dating from 1180, based in County Kilkenny. Although the place is in ruins, Jerpoint Abbey has a 12th century charm, and you will undoubtedly enjoy walking around its walls, admiring its still intact vaults and the finesse of its carvings.
Jerpoint Abbey is rather easy to reach… It is located near Thomastown, a small picturesque village of less than 2000 inhabitants. Once you arrive, go to the Visitor Centre, where you will be presented with a rather playful exhibition on the history of the Abbey.
It is said to have been built on the ruins of a first Benedictine monastery dating from 1160, commissioned by the Osraige king Cerball Mac Domnaill Mac Gilla Patraic, a king reigning over Leinster and Munster.
According to the archaeologists, the dilapidation of the first construction would have led to the destruction of the abbey. It was later decided to rebuild it, this time with a safer and finer architecture. This time it was a much better work, and was acquired in 1541 by Count James, Count of Ormand, who particularly appreciated the exceptional beauty of the building.
Jerpoint Abbey, as we know it today, has a square tower, overlooking arched walled walkways that run along what was once a square with gardens. Numerous sculptures decorate the stones of the building, both inside and outside. One of the most elaborate sculptures in Jerpoint Abbey is believed to be on the tomb of Felix O’Dulany, one of the bishops who lived at the time of the Abbey’s creation.
Note that not far from Jerpoint Abbey, there are also the ruins of a church, which according to the legend, is said to contain the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myre, the Saint Nicholas closely linked to Christmas .
Duration: 45 minutes