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Abbeydorney (Abbey)

also known as: Mainistir Ó dTorna, Odourne

Order: Cistercian

An early Christian establishment, Kilflyn (Cill Flainn) is noted for the parish of Abbeydorney (www.monasticon.celt.dias.ie, 2012). There is a further link to the early Irish saint of Mochuda of Lismore. Mochuda, an important saint with many links to Kerry, had his principal church at Lismore, Co. Waterford. On the day of his ordination, Mochuda prophesied that a local Kerry chieftain would hold the hostages of Uí Thorna, a name preserved in Abbeydorney (DIS, 470)

The second part of Abbeydorney (Mainistir Ó dTorna) is found on a megalithic stone in Faunkill-and-the-Woods, in Cork, as Turanias. (Damian McManus, ‘Written on Stone’ Irish Arts Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, Autumn 2006, 99) This is also noted, with details on the word 'Turanias' in John McNeill, 'Notes on the Distribution, History, Grammar, and Import of the Irish Ogham Inscriptions' PRIA, Vol. 27, (1908/1909), 349)

Henry S. Crawford records a Latin cross, 11 feet high with one arm broken, and small traces of incised designs in the locality of Abbeydorney, situated on the road opposite Killahan graveyard, 6 miles north of Tralee. (H. S. Crawford, 'A Descriptive List of the Early Irish Crosses', JRSAI, Fifth Series, Vol. 37, No. 2, [Fifth Series, Vol. 17] (Jun. 30, 1907), 187-239)

The monastery of Abbeydorney was used as a base by a garrison of Desmond’s men during the Desmond Rebellion of 1579 - 83. In September of the year 1582, Anthony McCormack writes that the garrison there were unable to obtain any food locally, and were forced to eat their horses, as well as carrion. (Anthony M. McCormack, 'The Social and Economic Consequences of the Desmond Rebellion of 1579-83', IHS, Vol. 34, No. 133 (May, 2004), 11)

A note in the JRSAI of 1898 records that an image of Abbeydorney from the West was donated to the Society's Photographic Collection in 1897 (JRSAI, Fifth Series, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Mar. 31, 1898), 64-65) A further 6 images are recorded as having been collected in 1902. (JRSAI, Fifth Series, Vol. 33, No. 1, [Fifth Series, Vol. 13] (Mar. 31, 1903), 98-112)

Architecture
The site of the monastery is still in use as a graveyard. A long, aisleless church is extant, with a projecting western tower, apparently from the fifteenth century. A number of finely carved details in limestone remain, including the elaborately moulded west door with a square hood (image at http://www.gothicpast.com/items/show/2455). There is a vaulted passage under the western tower, with a chamber on the first floor lit by a two-light window with curvilinear tracery. A largely-collapsed ogee-headed tomb recess is in the north wall of the chancel, and there is a three-lights switchline window in the east gable. Some parts of the east and west walls of the cloister remain, including ‘dumb-bell’ piers of the cloister arcade. (Stalley CMI, 240)

Two drawings of the Abbey of Kyrie Eleision, of O Dorney by Benjamin Woodward (1816 - 1861) are held in the RIA Prints and Drawings collection.

Name of Foundation: Kyrie Eleison
Dedicated to: Blessed Virgin Mary
Affiliated to: Monasternenagh

Barony: Clanmaurice/ Clann Mhuiris
Civil Parish: O'Dorney
Townland: Knockaunmore (An Cnocán Mór)
Kingdom/Lordship: Clanmaurice/Desmond
Early mediaeval Kingdom/Lordship: Uí Thorna/Dál Cais

Main events in the history of this site

1154Foundation - Colonised from Monasternenagh in 1154. The monastery was affiliated to Mellifont for a time, but affiliation was later restored to Monasternenagh. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1186Burial - Burial of Christian O’Conarchy (Gilla-Críst Ua Conairche), first abbot of Mellifont, later bishop of Lismore and papal legate. He retired to Abbeydorney, where he died and was buried in 1186. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1227 - The abbot of Abbeydorney was deposed for being involved in the ‘conspiracy of Mellifont’. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1228 - Stephen of Lexington did not go on to Abbeydorney, following very strong opposition, and recommended that Abbeydorney be affiliated to Margam in Wales, together with Inishlounaght. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1278 - The affiliation with Monasternenagh was restored. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1288 - The abbot of Abbeydorney, Nicholas, became bishop of Ardfert in 1288. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1445, May 4Visitation - Certificate of Brother Guillermine, Abbot of Clairvaux, confirming the right of the Abbot of Margam to visit the Abbeys of Holy Cross, of Kyrieleyson (Abbeydorney) and of Mayo (Monasternenagh), May 4, 1445. Manuscript, London: British Museum, Harleian Charter 75 A.7. 
1450 - 1460 - The Abbot complained about to the Pope about unjust subjugation and unlawful payments, enforced by James de Geraldinis, Earl of Desmond and others. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1453 - 1Abbot Fitzmaurice was acceded by Edmund Fitzmaurice, monk of Monasternenagh. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123) 
1475, 19 DecemberLetter to the abbot of Odorney, 1475 - To the abbot of St. Mary’s, Odorney (de Kyrieleyson) and the prior of Ballinskelligs (sancti Michaelis de Ruppe), in the diocese of Ardfert, and Thomas [son] of John de Geraldinis, a canon of Ardfert. Mandate, as below. The recent petition of Thomas Ykealachyr, priest, of the diocese of Ardfert, contained that on the voidance of the rectories of the parish churches of Trally and Eenac, in the said diocese, their lay patrons presented the said Thomas (who had been dispensed by papal authority on account of illegitimacy, as the son of unmarried parents, to be promoted to all, even holy orders, and to hold a benefice with cure, and subsequently to receive and retain any two benefices with or without cure, even if two of them were parish churches etc., or dignities etc., namely for three years only if they were parish churches or if not for life, and to resign them, simply or for exchange, as often as he pleased, and who had had himself so promoted) to John, bishop of Ardfert, who instituted him; that after in virtue of the said presentation and institution he had obtained possession of the said rectories, on the perpetual vicarage of the said church in Trally becoming void the said bishop, considering the slenderness of the fruits etc. of the said rectory of Trally, united to it the said vicarage for Thomas’s lifetime, with the consent of the chapter of Ardfert; that after Thomas had in virtue of the said union obtained possession of the vicarage, and had held it in peace for some time, the said bishop, moved by some cause of indignation against him (note: quadom animi indignation motus contra ipsum Thomas), dissolved the said union, without the consent of the said chapter; that after the said dissolution the said Thomas, believing it to be invalid, continued with the said bishop’s knowledge to hold possession of the vicarage for two years, as he still does, especially because the said bishop did not make provision of it, and interfered with it no further, but allowed Thomas to hold and possess it, and because he ordered the sequestrations which he had made of its fruits etc. to be dissolved, and because he was often received by Thomas in the vicarage presbytery. (note: in domo presbyterali) The said petition adding that Thomas doubts whether the said presentation and institution holds good, and that some doubt of the validity of said union, etc., the pope hereby orders the above three, if they find that the said union was lawful, to approve and confirm it by papal authority, and pro potiori cautela, to unite the said vicarage, value 4 marks sterling, to the said rectory of Trally, value 8, for such time as Thomas shall hold the latter, and in that event to collate and assign to him the said rectories of Trally and Eenac (value 4 marks sterling), which have cure, and the said vicarage. Apostolice sedis providential circumspecta. CPL 13.1, 1471 - 1475, pg. 455 
1537 - The abbot was a lord in Parliament and the abbey was very rich. Edmund Lord Kerry was created Baron of Odorney and Viscount Kilmaule, and was granted Abbeydorney and other monasteries. (Med. Religious houses, Ire., 123)
 
1577Killing of abbot - AFM 1577 Abbot killed in war between the Earl of Desmond and Thomas Mac Maurice of Kerry. 
1582, September - The monastery of Abbeydorney was used as a base by a garrison of Desmond’s men during the Desmond Rebellion of 1579 - 83. (Anthony M. McCormack, 'The Social and Economic Consequences of the Desmond Rebellion', IHS, Vol. 34, No. 133 (May, 2004), pp. 1-15) 
+ 6 minor events. Show minor events

People associated with this site

Christian/ Gilla-Críst O’Conarchy/ Ua Conairche , Abbot of Mellifont, Bishop of Lismore, Papal Legate

Bibliographical sources

4 Printed sources

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Archival sources

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'Abbey of Kyrie Eleision, of O Dorney', (Document), (View website)

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'Abbey of O Dorney, Co. Kerry', (Document),

British Museum (The National Library of Ireland also holds a microfilm copy), 'Certificate of Brother Guillermine, Abbot of Clairvaux, confirming the right of the Abbot of Margam', (Document), (View website)

Royal Irish Academy Manuscripts Collection, 'OS Letter, to T. A. Larcom from John O'Donovan (Kerry sites)', (Document), (View website)

Related articles on Monastic Ireland

2. Letter from Stephen of Lexington regarding the redistribution of the houses previously affiliated to Maigue (Letter 77), Extract from Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229 (translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O\'Dwyer), Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982
6. Letters from Stephen of Lexington to the King and Queen of Thomond (Letters 92 and 93), Extract from Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229 (translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O\'Dwyer), Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982
Letter from Stephen of Lexington to the Council of Abbots (Letter 22), Extract from Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229 (translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O\'Dwyer), Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982

Kerry, OSI Grid:Q8508223700