One of Ireland's early Christian monks established this monastic community in 696 in what is today a picturesque rural village in south County Carlow which still bears his name, Saint Mullin's. The saint, who served as Bishop of Ferns and Glendalough, is alleged to have led a life of many miracles. The monastery was ravaged by Viking invaders in 951 and again by fire in 1138. A graveyard stands alongside the ruins of the old monastery, while a 19th-century church houses a heritage centre, providing information for visitors.
Things to See
The remains of the monastic community include:
- The burial place of Saint Moling, later known as Saint Mullin
- A manuscript from the 8th century known as The Book of Mulling shows a plan for the monastery
- Temple Mor, an early medieval church, whose remains feature a round tower and exceptional spiral staircase along with nave and chancel architecture
- The current abbey, which contains an 18th century penal altar relating to the era of anti-Catholic law
- A medieval high cross depicting the crucifixion on its east face and decorated with various motifs on its other faces
The Church of Ireland church on the site, built in 1811, is now used as a Heritage Centre. Inside, an exhibition presents the story of the monastic community, while items of local history are on display, including maps, old photographs and other items. The centre offers genealogy searches for visitors whose ancestors came from the South Carlow area, or neighbouring parishes, via old church records.
St. Mullins monastic site. Image by Martin McAlinden
Some of the ruins at St. Mullin's Abbey. Image: Sarah777