Building operations on this Cistercian Abbey located in the town of Boyle, began in 1161. Today it is considered to be one of Ireland’s most well preserved religious sites.
The huge tower that still stands was begun along with the rest of the original building, with portions added over the years to increase its height. At the end of the 12th century, the eastern nave, with arches and ornate pillars that still stand, was erected, along with the northern side. The pillars here are very different in appearance, although they date back to the same time period. The church itself was consecrated in 1218.
Also surviving are the gatehouse, which now contains the interpretative centre, and two doorways that date back to the year 1200. Most of the cloister has disappeared.
Other buildings on the site can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The settlement was taken over by Cromwellian forces in 1659.
In the years before Cromwell’s armies invaded, Boyle Cistercian Abbey was one of the most widely recognized in all of Connaught, and survived invasions by Richard de Burgo, Justiciar and Maurice Fitzgerald.