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The Abbey which is today in ruins, some of which have been restored was founded in the 13th century by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, as the result of a vow he had made when his boat was caught in a storm nearby.
On reaching safety in Bannow Bay, he redeemed his vow bequeathing about 9,000 acres of land for a Cistercian abbey.
Consequently, Tintern Abbey, sited on a gentle south-facing slope overlooking Tintern stream, is sometimes called Tintern de Voto 'Tintern of the vow.' Once established, the abbey was colonised by monks from the Cistercian abbey at Tintern in Monmouthshire, Wales, of which Marshal was also patron.
Following its foundation, Tintern acquired large tracts of land in Co.
Wexford and at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, appears to have been the third richest Cistercian abbey in Ireland (after St. Mary's in Dublin and Mellifont).