Monastic Ireland | Abbeyknockmoy Cistercian Abbey

Abbeyknockmoy Abbey Founded in c. 1190

Abbeyknockmoy Abbey Founded in c. 1190 by Cathal Croibhdhearg O’Conor (d.1224), king of Connacht, Ireland.
1190: A storm on Lough Ree claimed the lives of Cathal Croibhdhearg O’Conor’s son and a number of his retainers. Tradition maintains that Cathal founded Abbeyknockmoy in thanksgiving for his survival of this tragedy.
1202: The abbey was plundered by the Anglo-Norman, William de Burgo while Cathal Croibhdhearg was in exile.
1211: Cathal Croibhdhearg’s nephew Rory, son of the last high king of Ireland, Rory O’Conor (d.1198), was buried here.
1224: Cathal Croibhdhearg was buried in the habit of a Cistercian in Abbeyknockmoy, and was buried here with his wife, Moy (Mór), who had died in 1217.
1254: Brian, son of Turlough (Toirdhealbhach) O’Conor (d.1234) and grandson of the high king Rory was the last O’Conor whose burial is recorded here.
1290: Donal (Domhnall) O’Kelly, lord of Uí Mhaine, retired to Abbeyknockmoy and was buried here in 1295.
Late 14th century: Maurice (Muircheartach) O’Kelly, archbishop of Tuam, was a generous patron of Abbeyknockmoy. He granted it several valuable endowments in the including the vicarage of St. Nicholas’s Church, Galway.
1402: Malachy (Maolsheachlainn) O’Kelly, lord of Uí Mhaine erected a family tomb in the north wall of the presbytery, the space traditionally reserved for the founder’s tomb. He and his wife, Fionnuala O’Conor, were subsequently buried here following their deaths in 1402 and 1403.
1440: Conchobhar O’Kelly, abbot of Abbeyknockmoy and brother of Maurice, archbishop of Tuam, died.
1452 and 1456: Abbot Malachy O’Kelly was accused of allowing the monastery to fall into disrepair.
1483: Abbot John Burke (de Burgo) was accused of setting fire to the abbey.
1542: The abbey was surrendered to the crown as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Abbot Hugh O’Kelly was appointed to collect rents soon after and it appears that the abbey church continued in use as a parish church, referred to as ‘Porta Magna’ or ‘Teampollandorusmoir’.
1566: Andrew Brereton obtained a lease on the abbey.
1568: Nicholas FitzSymons obtained a lease on the abbey.
1620: Abbeyknockmoy was granted by James I to Valentine Blake, one of the richest men in Galway.
1837: Francis Blake Forster of Ashfield owned the property.
Late 1980s: The painted murals in the chancel were exposed to the elements until the late 1980s when the Office of Public Works carried out work to weather-proof the space, to prevent further water damage to the paintings. (
Credit to : Tatiana Celtic Wind