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Abbeymahon (Abbey)

also known as: Carrigillihy; Abbey of Mawe; Abbey of Mawer

Order: Cistercian

A daughter-house of Baltinglass (Vallis Salutis), Co Wicklow reputedly founded in the late twelfth century by Diarmait son of Cormac MacCarthy, king of Desmond (d. 1185). No foundation charter survives and the earliest reference to MacCarthy as founder is in Ware De Hibernia et antiquitatibus eius (1654).
The abbey and its lands were granted in 1584 to Nicholas Walshe, Justice of the Province of Munster. show more...

Name of Foundation: S. Maria de Fonte Vivo
Dedicated to: Blessed Virgin Mary/St Mary
Diocese: Ross
Affiliated to: Baltinglass (mother-house)

Barony: Ibane and Barryroe
Civil Parish: Abbeymahon
Townland: Abbeymahon (Mainistir Ó mBána)
Early mediaeval Kingdom/Lordship: Uí Badamhna, Uí Echach Muman
Late mediaeval Kingdom/Lordship: Desmond; Barryroe

Site Description: The original site was at Aghamanister (Ahamonister – Achadh Mhainistreach ), about 2 miles from Abbeymahon. A small section of featureless wall survives, together with the stone foundations of a rectangular structure . The scale of this building implies a parish, rather than a monastic church, and it seems likely that this post-dates the Cistercian settlement there.

At Abbeymahon the existing remains are relatively plain, but sufficient to confirm that the church followed the typical Irish Cistercian plan – square-ended presbytery, transepts with at least one eastern chapel and nave. The chancel and barrel vaulted south chapel (c. 3m x 2.7) remain partially standing. At some point, possibly in the late sixteenth century, the church was drastically reduced in size by inserting a cross wall to shorten the nave and by blocking the transepts. The western entrance to the transept chapel was built up and a new entrance opened from the south wall of the chancel. A turret was placed on the new west façade.

Very little survives of the conventual buildings. In the south-west corner of what was once the cloister are the remnants of a residential tower, possibly the abbot’s lodging.

Main events in the history of this site

c.1172Foundation - foundation from Baltinglass under the patronage of Diarmait son of Cormac MacCarthy 
1278Burial - Diarmait son of Domhnall Cairbrech MacCarthy buried in ‘new monastery’. Patrick O’Hoolahan bishop of Ross and abbot of the Cistercian monastery 
1282Administration - Monastery placed under Mellifont 
c.1400-1460 - the abbacy of the hereditary family, the O’Hoolahans 
c.1475-1500 - the abbacy in the possession of Franciscans including Edmund Courcy, bishop of Clogher and Thaddeus MacCarthy, bishop of Ross & Cork and Cloyne 
1584Dissolution - monastery granted to Nicholas Walshe, Justice of Province of Munster 
+ 4 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

Thadeus MacCarthy , bishop of Ross & Corkand Clyne

Robert O'Hoolahan , Abbot

O'Hoolahan (Uí Uallacháin)

Nicholas Walshe , Sir

Edmund de Courcy , Bishop of Clogher

Diarmait son of Cormac MacCarthy , king of Desmond

Diarmait son of Domhnall Cairbrech MacCarthy , king of Desmond

Bibliographical sources

4 Printed sources

show sources

Archival sources

Bodlien Library, Oxford, 'Letter concerning the sale of Abbey Mahon, 1655', (Document), (View website)

Cork, OSI Grid:W4906542938
View site details on the National Monuments Database[new window]