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Moore Abbey

JN 10 (N24 AND L3102) TOWARDS LIMERICK

On the western end of the Aherlow Valley, Moore Abbey was founded in 1204 by King of Thomond (North Munster). The friary was suppressed in 1540 but the new owner, the Earl of Desmond left the Friars in peace until the friary was burnt in 1569 and 1570. Returning in 1645, the Friars were expelled by the Cromwellians, but returned in 1658, and inhabited the friary until 1748. Only the friary church and tower remain today.

In the beautiful Glen of Aherlow, looking out to the stunning Galtee Mountains are the ruins of Moor Abbey. This Franciscan friary was founded in the 13th century by Donnchad Móir Ó Briain, King of Thomond (1210-1242). Historical evidence suggests that in 1471 a new church was constructed at the site, but that the following year it was destroyed by fire. The buildings that survive today date from this period. The church consists of a nave and chancel, separated by a tall bell-tower. In the chancel is a double piscina for washing liturgical vessels. Beside the doorway in the north wall of the chancel is a stoup which contained holy water that would have served the friars entering the church from the sacristy which formerly stood to the north.

In 1541 the friary was dissolved and later became the property of John Fitzgerald, brother of the Earl of Desmond. In 1569, during a rebellion led by the Earl of Desmond, the abbey was burned by government soldiers led by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, originally from Devon and a half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. The following year Fr. Dermot O’Mulrooney and two other friars returned to the friary, but were murdered by government forces.

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