Another wonderful Cistercian abbey located on the Hook peninsula, County Wexford, I been visiting, is Tintern Abbey. Situated only 20 minute drive from Dunbrody Abbey and 25 minute drive from New Ross.
Tintern Abbey, which is today in ruins, was founded c. 1200 by William, Earl Marshal on lands held through his marriage to the Irish heiress, Isabella de Clare. Known as the Greatest Knight, Marshals impact is visible all across the south-east.
Once established, the abbey was colonised by monks from the Cistercian abbey at Tintern in Monmouthshire, Wales, of which Marshal was also patron. To distinguish the two, the mother house in Wales was sometimes known as “Tintern Major” and the abbey in Ireland as “Tintern de Voto” (Tintern of the vow).
Tintern Abbey was once one of the most powerful Cistercian foundations in Ireland. The monks lived and worked here for centuries. The nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister still stand. In the 16th century the old abbey was granted to the Colclough family and soon after the church was partly converted into living quarters and further adapted over the centuries. The Colcloughs occupied the abbey from the sixteenth century until the mid-twentieth. The final member of the Colclough family to reside at Tintern was Lucey Marie Biddulph Colclough who donated the abbey to the Irish state.
Between 1982 and 2007, the National Monuments service of the Office of Public Works undertook a number of excavation and heritage development efforts at the abbey. Conservation works have included special measures to protect the local bat colonies. The abbey is set in a special area of conservation and is surrounded by woodland within which are walking trails. Not to be missed is the restored Colclough Walled Garden situated within the old estate.
Tintern Abbey is outstanding, visitors can get to walk around the cloister and the nave. One small part is open featuring a small museum with information panels. There are more info panels outside in the cloister.
There are several beautiful forest trails around the Abbey. A board at the trailhead tells you how long they are, whether they are easy or moderate as well as a guide to how much time to allow. We followed the river path and found it so peaceful and idyllic. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Tintern Abbey.
Tintern Abbey itself and the grounds are free for the rest of 2021 as they are run by the OPW, visit: heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/tintern-abbey
Location of Tintern Abbey:
Below my photos taken in August 2021.