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Adare (Friary)

Order: Franciscan

There is evidence for several early Christian ecclesiastical settlements in the Adare region. These include Ard Chaitne, in the parish of Ardcanny in the deanery of Adare – field remains exist for a church site (possibly early). Also in the deanery of Adare is the site of Cell Chúrnáin, associated with Cúmán Becc in the parish of Kilcoman. Field remains include a church site. There was a festival in honour of the patron, Cuman. The church site also remains for Cell Dímmae, associated with Dimma ‘son of Cass’, in the parish of Kildimo, in the deanery of Adare. There was also a festival and station in honour of the patron. The foundation of Cell mac Gobain (?), in the townland of Kilboggin, in the parish of Adare, has an extant church ruin. Further sites include Cluain Áine (?), in the deanery of Adare, and Kilcurly, in the parish of Adare, which has traces of a church remaining. (http://monasticon.celt.dias.ie, accessed 22/03/13)

The church of St. Michael Archangel of the Friars Minor, founded by Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, and his wife Johanna, daughter of James, Earl of Desmond, was dedicated in 1464 and consecrated for Observants in 1466. The tower was built by Cornelius O'Sullivan and others (named) built various parts of the church and monastery, while two tertiary brothers also helped. (AH6) (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242)
The friary as suppressed in 1539 - 40, The Franciscans returned to the friary and were there in 1579. The friars were driven out, c. 1581, during the Desmond war, but were re-established by 1633.
In 1595, the friary, with church, cloister, hall, dormitory, library, three chambers, kitchen, bakery and a great park or close on the west side, estimated at 16 acres altogether, was granted with the Trinitarian and other monasteries to Sir Henry Wallop in 1595. (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242)

An early description of the Franciscan friary was given by Fr. Donatus Mooney: 'the friars were driven from Adare during the war between the Earl of Desmond and Queen Elizabeth. The convent, which up to that time, had been kept in excellent repair, was allowed to go to ruin. At present, the roof has fallen in, but the walls stand, and the glass even is uninjured in some of the church windows'. ('Adare', The Franciscan Tertiary: a monthly journal of the Third Order, 5/12)

It was maintained as part of a picturesque landscape by the Earls of Dunraven, and forms part of the view from the Gothic Revival Adare Manor, situated near the friary. (Niamh NicGhabhann, Reconstructions of the Gothic Past: Ruins and the Improving Landlord in Early Nineteenth-Century Ireland).

According to Catriona McLeod, there are two statues in Adare (a figure of the Madonna and a figure of St. Joseph) which local tradition associated with the Franciscans. The statues date from the period following the burning of the abbey in 1647, when the friars continued a secret ministration until the end of the eighteenth century. There is a full description of the statues and illustrations given in Catriona McLeod, ‘Medieval Statues from the 17th Century’ (1947).show more...

Name of Foundation: St. Michael Archangel
Dedicated to: St. Michael Archangel

Barony: Kenry/Caonraí Connello Upper/ Conallaigh Uachtaracha Cois Máige/ Cosmha
Civil Parish: Adare/ Áth Dara
Townland: Adare (Áth Dara)
Owned by: The friary now stands on the golf course owned by Adare Manor Hotel.

Main events in the history of this site

1464Foundation - The church of St. Michael Archangel of the Friars Minor, founded by Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, and his wife Johanna, daughter of James, Earl of Desmond, was dedicated in 1464 and consecrated for Observants in 1466. The tower was built by Cornelius O'Sullivan and others (named) built various parts of the church and monastery, while two tertiary brothers also helped. (AH6) (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1478 - The founder of the monastery, Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, died. (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1486 - The wife of the founder, Johanna, daughter of James, Earl of Desmond, died. (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1539 - 1540 - The friary as suppressed in 1539 - 40 (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1559 - The buildings appeared to be unoccupied in 1559 (Dunraven, 68), (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1579 - The Franciscans returned to the friary and were there in 1579 (Begley, 360), (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
c.1581 - The friars were driven out, c. 1581, during the Desmond war (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1585, 7 February - 7th of February, 1585
Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Cobham, Lord Buckhurst, Lord Chancellor, Lord Threasurer, Lord Admirall, Lord Chamberlain, Mr Comptroller, Mr Vicechamberlain, Mr Secretary.
A letter to the Lord Deputie of Ireland that whereas before his Lordship’s cominge to that Realme to take the governement uppon him as well as her Majestie did signifie her pleasure as their Lordships from hence to the then Lord Justices for a lease to be made to Gregorie Rigges of the Monasterie of Adare in the countie of Limericke, beinge for the yearlie rent of xxij xcij viij Irish, the same Monasterie beinge then presentlie voide by the fortayture of soch estate as James Gould had therein; wheruppon a fiant beinge made unto (sic) the Lords Justices’ handles, as also by them a particuler of this thinge under their and the Auditour’s handes for the makinge of his lease by the Remembrancer there, and seene here, so it is that the said Rigges hath declared here to her Majestie and to their Lordships that notwithstandinge her former pleasure signified (as aforesaid) for him, and the great forwardness he was in for his lease, yet he, uppon his arrivall there, not onlie made staie of the lease to be made him uppon that fiant and particuler, but also (for cause best known to him self) passed awaie this monastery to Sir Henry Wallop, to this poore man’s great hindrance and undoinge, wherewithall her Majestie is not a little offended, as well in respect of the small accompt he hath made of her pleasure in this behalf signified to the Lord Justices, as also in commiseraction of this man, who is not onlie verie honest and of courage, but hath served in that Realme and other places about xxx yeares; therefore her Majestie hath commaunded their Lordships in her name to let the Lord Deputie understand that her pleasure is he cause the estate of this Monasterie by him made to Sir Henry Wallop to be presentlie revoked, and such a lease thereof to be forthwith made to the said Rigges as was by her at the first ment for him, and herein that his Lordship see no delaies be used to the poore man [to] his further charges, or her Highnes’ trouble, &c.
An other letter to Sir Henry Wallop to the lyke effect.
1585 – 6 Acts of the Privy Council of England, 14, 13
 
1595 - The friary, with church, cloister, hall, dormitory, library, three chambers, kitchen, bakery and a great park or close on the west side, estimated at 16 acres altogether, was granted with the Trinitarian and other monasteries to Sir Henry Wallop in 1595 (CPRIre, Hen VIII - Eliz, ii., 318 - 19) (Med.religious houses, Ire., 242) 
1633 - The friars were re-established at Adare following the Desmond war. (AH6 ii, 159), (Med. religious houses, Ire., 242) 
+ 4 minor events. Show minor events

Bibliographical sources

28 Printed sources

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Archival sources

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'Abbey at Adair, Sir Richard Colt Hoare', (Document), (View website)

Trinity College Dublin, 'Annales Fratrum de Adare in Com. Limerici', (Document), (View website)

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'Ennis Abbey, leaves on Inchiquin tomb[and architectural detail of] Adare Franciscan Abbey 1887.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'Gabriel Beranger, Two Abbeys, being part of the ruins of Adair, county of Limerick', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'OS Drawing Adare Abbey (Adare Parish, Co. Limerick.)', (Document),

Bodlien Library, Oxford The National Library of Ireland holds a microfilm copy (n.3199, p.2819)., 'Statuta ordinis Fratrum Minorum de Athdare', (Document), (View website)

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Adare Abbey, Aug 8th 1885.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Adare Abbey, Co. Limerick, Nov 29, 1875.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Adare Abbey, interior west view, Ap 27th 1878.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Adare Abbey.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Desmond's Castle and Franciscan Abbey, Adare, Co. Limerick. [A view] from the Bridg', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Franciscan', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Franciscan Abbey, Adare (Co. Limerick). [A view] from over Cloisters', (Document), (View website)

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Lady Chapel, Franciscan Friary, Adare, Co. Limerick', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, Refectory, Franciscan priory, Adare, Sep 1875.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, The Franciscan Abbey, Adare from north, March 8th 1878.', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, The approach from the North of the Franciscan [Abbey], Adare, Co. Limerick', (Document),

Royal Irish Academy Prints and Drawings, 'T. J. Westropp, [4 views of ] Franciscan Abbey, Adare.', (Document),

Images of this site

General view, Adare Franciscan Friary

General view, Adare Franciscan Friary

Limerick, OSI Grid:R4740746659