Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford

Another wonderful Cistercian abbey located on the Hook peninsula, County Wexford, I have been visiting, is Tintern Abbey. Situated only a 20-minute drive from Dunbrody Abbey and a 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, Marshal’s impact is visible all across the southeast.

Once established, the abbey was colonized by monks from the Cistercian abbey at Tintern in Monmouthshire, Wales, of which Marshal was also a 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 there.

Tintern Abbey itself and the grounds are free for the rest of 2021 as they are run by the OPW.


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.

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