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A Cistercian Abbey was founded here in 1150 and was one of the earliest in the country following the success of the first foundation at Mellifont in County Louth.
The Abbey was founded by the O’Farrells and was eventually closed by Queen Elizabeth 1 during the Tudor suppression of the monasteries.
The ruins of the Cistercian Abbey at Abbeyshrule were once part of a much larger community of buildings that have all but disappeared today except for the outline stones of some of the buildings.
It also contains the shaft of the only high cross discovered in County Longford.
Monks carrying the traditions of the Cistercian order first came to Ireland at the request of St.
Malachy of Armagh in 1140 A.D.
He discovered the order in other parts of Europe while making a pilgrimage to Rome.
The abbey was one of the largest in the area, rectangular with a square tower, and a unique spiral staircase near the cloisters.
It contained many cells along with a chapel, sacristy, pantry refectory and kitchen.
The Cistercians recruited many locals to be monks in their time and the community was quite large by the standards of the time.