Dunbrody Abbey, Co. Wexford

From New Ross, I traveled to visit one of the most impressive ruined Cistercians abbeys in Ireland. Situated on the Hook Peninsula in Campile, County Wexford, in a rural tranquillity area, Dunbrody Abbey is one of the finest examples of a Cistercian monastery in Ireland.

Dunbrody Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Dhún Bróithe) was founded in 1170.

On the instructions of Strongbow, by Herve de Montmorency (his uncle), after the Norman invasion of Ireland. It was completed circa 1220, but additions may have continued for some time. Herve de Montmorency made a grant of the lands to the monks of Bildewas in Shropshire (England). On condition that they should build the Abbey, for some monks of the Cistercian, or White Order (they wore white robes). And upon condition that there should be a Sanctuary in the Abbey for all malefactors. Dedicated to “St. Mary the ever Blessed Virgin, and St. Benedict” it has sometimes been called the Abbey of St. Mary de Port. And for the refuge, it contained by the express condition of its founder.

Herve de Montmorency became the first Abbot of Dunbrody. He died there in 1205, at the age of 75, and was buried in the Abbey.

The Abbey’s demise started when Alexander Devereux, the last Abbot of Dunbrody, granted to the King, his heirs and successors, the Abbey, and all its possessions circa 1542. Alexander Devereux changed religion and became the Bishop of Ferns. The lands and Abbey then came into the possession of the Etchingham family. In 1642, Jane Etchingham, the heiress, married the second Earl of Donegall. And his descendants (the Chichester family) own the lands to this day.

It was handed over by the Chichester family to the Office of Public Works in 1911.

And is maintained to the standards you see today by them.

Source: dunbrodyabbey.com

The cross-shaped church was built in the 13th century, and the tower was added in the 15th century. With a length of 59m, the church is one of the longest in Ireland.

This is a stunning abbey, really impressive, and one of the largest in Ireland. There are also lots of interesting information boards. I highly recommend it, it`s one of the most visited places in County Wexford.

Today the abbey also features a modern visitor center (but it wasn`t open yet when I was there).

Next to the abbey lies Dunbrody Castle and a visitor center opened by the Earl of Belfast, the only son of the 7th Marquess of Donegall. The castle gardens feature an intricate yew hedge maze called the Dunbrody Abbey Maze. Made up of 1,500 yew trees and gravel paths. It is one of the only two full-size mazes in Ireland.

Location of Dunbrody Abbey:

Below are photos I took in August 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

One thought on “Dunbrody Abbey, Co. Wexford”

  1. Great photographs, Malgorzata. I’ve just spent a few weeks touring the Hook Peninsula with my wife. We took loads of architectural shots, with a particular focus on churches and abbeys.

    We returned to Sligo after 50 years living in London. that’s where we began our Church Crawling addictions. I haven’t got a website yet but hoping one of my sons will come over from London to set me up.
    Best wishes,
    Noel and Mary Foley

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