St. Mary's Abbey, Cistercian, Dublin, Co. Dublin
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St. Mary's Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey located near Abbey Street in Dublin. Its territory stretched from the district known as Oxmanstown down along the river Liffey until it met the sea. It also owned large estates in other parts of Ireland. It was one of several liberties that existed in Dublin since the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century, which gave it jurisdiction over its lands.

The abbey was founded by the Irish king Maolseachlainn (died 862) in 846, according to the Annals of the Four Masters. It was originally Benedictine, but in 1139 was given by Malachy O'Morga, the legate of the Pope, to monks belonging to the Congregation of Savigny, which in 1147 joined the Cistercian order. In 1303, a great part of the abbey and church was destroyed by fire, but was re-constructed. However, many of the city records in chancery stored in the abbey were destroyed. The abbey was one of the largest and richest in Ireland at that time.In 1316 Robert de Nottingham, then mayor of Dublin, attacked the abbey where the Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh, was visiting. De Burgh was suspected of having brought Edward Bruce, who was then marching on Dublin, to Ireland. Several of de Burgh's men were killed before he was captured, and as the monks were suspected of supporting Bruce, the abbey was laid waste. Silken Thomas started his rebellion of 1534 here, by throwing down his Sword of State.
After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the property was given over to John Travers and the church became an arsenal and part of a quarry. The spacious lands which had been owned by the monks came in time to be let to persons who desired to build residences or places of business thereon. In 1619 Sir Gerald Moore of Mellifont, Drogheda, received from James 1 a grant of the abbey, together with its tithes and lands. He later became Viscount Moore of Mellifont. The family of Moore made the Abbey their Dublin residence up to the close of the 17th century, and it was Henry Moore, the first Earl of Drogheda, who built himself a mansion on what in now O'Connell Street, and developed Henry, Moore and Earl streets. In 1676 the stones of the Abbey were used for the building of Essex Bridge (now Grattan Bridge, leading to Parliament St.) Dr. Lindsay, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, and afterwards Bishop of Kildare, acquired the old monastic lands of Glasnevin, which had once belonged to the abbey. These were purchased around 1832 to form what is now Glasnevin Cemetery.

The abbey was only rediscovered, 7 feet underground and underneath a bakery, in the 1880s, by an amateur archaeologist. His findings were publicized by John Thomas Gilbert. Parts of the old adjoining walls can still be seen.

More about Monastic Sites in Ireland you will find HERE.


Centre of Dublin. Off Capel Street. From O'Connell Street follow Luas line down Abbey Street Upper, cross Capel Street to street called Mary's Abbey, then first turn right into Meetinghouse Lane.


Open by prior arrangement for group visits.
Tours can be booked between 30th April and 30th Sept (+353 1 833 1618)



Attractions nearby

Ardgillan Castle and Demesne within 27.6 km
Baily / Bailey Lighthouse, Howth within 14.5 km
Baldongan Castle and Church Ruins within 24.7 km
Barberstown Castle Hotel within 22.7 km
Brenanstown (Brennanstown, Glendruid ) Dolmen within 12.8 km
Bullock Castle, Dublin within 12.8 km
Carthy's Castle Ruins within 11 km
Castletown House and Parklands, Celbridge within 17.3 km
Celbridge Abbey within 19 km
Christ Church Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Church of Ireland, Dublin within 0.5 km
Clane Franciscan Abbey within 28.3 km
Clondalkin Round Tower, Dublin within 8.8 km
Corr Castle, Howth within 12.6 km
Custom House, Dublin within 1.1 km
Dalkey Castle and Heritage Center, Dublin within 13.4 km
Dalkey Island, Dublin within 14.9 km
Djouce Mountain within 24 km
Drimnagh Castle, Dublin within 4.9 km
Dun Laoghaire Lighthouses within 10.7 km
Dunboyne Castle Hotel within 15.8 km
Dunsany Castle within 27.8 km
Dunsoghly Castle within 9.4 km
Fitzpatrick / Killiney Castle Hotel within 13.6 km
Four Courts within 0.3 km
Grand Canal Plaza, Dublin within 2.1 km
Great Sugarloaf Mountain within 22.9 km
Hell Fire Club House Ruins, Mount Pelier Hill, Dublin within 11.4 km
Herbert Park, Dublin within 3.3 km
Howth Lighthouse, Dublin within 14.4 km
Johnnie Fox's Pub within 14.4 km
Killeen Castle within 29.9 km
Killruddery House and Gardens within 21.6 km
Kilteel Castle Ruins within 21.4 km
Lough Tay, Wicklow Mountains within 26.7 km
Lusk Round Tower within 21 km
Man O'War Pub & Restaurant within 24.5 km
Marlay House and Park, Dublin within 7.8 km
Monkstown Parish Church, Church of Ireland, Dublin within 9.8 km
Mount Argus Church, Dublin within 3.1 km
National Botanic Gardens, Dublin within 2.8 km
Newbridge House, Park and Farm within 16.9 km
North Bull Island, Dollymount Strand and National Natural Reserve within 7.6 km
North Wall Quay Lighthouse, Dublin within 3.5 km
Oughterard Round Tower and Church Ruins within 21.1 km
Poolbeg Lighthouse, Dublin within 7.9 km
Powerscourt House and Gardens within 18.9 km
Powerscourt Waterfall within 22.7 km
Rathcoffey Castle and Mansion House Ruins within 26.3 km
Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin within 5.6 km
Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin within 1.9 km
Skerries Windmills within 27.3 km
St Augustine and St Johns / John's Lane Church within 0.7 km
St. Anne's Park, Dublin within 6.6 km
St. Doulagh's Church, Church of Ireland within 9.6 km
St. Michan's Church, Church of Ireland, Dublin within 0.4 km
St. Patrick's College and the Chapel, Maynooth within 22 km
Swords Round Tower within 12.6 km
Taghadoe Round Tower and Church Ruins within 22.9 km
The Pro-Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Roman Catholic within 0.8 km
Threecastles Castle Ruins within 23.5 km
Wonderful Barn within 16 km