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Kilkenny, is one of the greatest examples of early Cistercian monastic settlements in Ireland.
The ruins date from 1158 when founded by the pioneering Cistercian Order of monks.
The Jerpoint area was then actually a small settlement and later became a town because of the commercial and religious activities created by the presence of the monks.
However, it is estimated that the town of Jerpoint fell into ruin about 200 years after the abbey was vacated in 1540.
Today the ruins of the magnificent abbey still offer a valuable and unique insight into the lives of the monks because of the level of preservation of the various habitable and chapel areas.
In its heyday when fully established, the abbey was self-sufficient and had its own gardens, watermills, cemetery, granary and kitchens.
It also produced goods for sale locally and employed locals who built around the settlement to create a small town.
The oldest parts of the abbey are the Irish-Romanesque transepts and chancel, which contains faded wall paintings.
The east window dates from the 14th century and the fantastic central tower was added in the 15th century when the abbey and the village were at their most active.
Wooden steps still follow the run of the night stairs.
By going up them, you will reach the roof and can look down at the rich lands that surrounded them.
The monastery was set on almost 1900 acres of the finest Kilkenny land some of which is now home to the beautiful Mount Juliet Golf and Country Club, the ancestral home of the Earl of Ormonde to which the abbey and lands were presented by the departing Cistercians in 1540.
Opening TimesNovember Daily 10:00-16:00Mid September - October Daily 10:00-17:00June - Mid September Daily 09:30-18:30March - May Daily 10:00-17:00Last tour 1 hour before closing time.