Baltinglass Abbey

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Name Baltinglass Abbey County Wicklow Nearest Town Baltinglass Access Road N81 About Baltinglass Abbey is located in the market town of Baltinglass in West County Wicklow.
It is situated on the east coast bank of the Slaney River.


The Abbey was founded in 1148 by Dermot McMurrough , the King of Leinster.

He brought the Cistercian monks here from Mellifont, in County Louth to find a new monastery which he called “The Valley of Salvation”.

In 1228 it is recorded that there were 36 monks and 50 lay brothers living there.

The church consisted of the nave with ails, chancel and two tapestries (the part of the cruciform church which represent the side arm running south and north), and building was probably complete by 1170.

The south arcade (a series of arches, columns or piers) of choir and nave (the main, western portion of a church, often a separate component unit from the chancel) which remains is slightly later in date, and has alternating round and square pillars supporting capitals (the head on the top of columns which support the arches) with peculiarly Irish motifs.

The three west windows are 12th century, but the three east windows and tower (now housing carved fragments and some medieval tiles from the Abbey) are 19th century.

Joining the south aisle to the cloister is a 12th century doorway, while excavations in 1931 brought to light a north door in the aisle, parts of the original cloister (now rebuild) and an early tower which blocked the eastern two – thirds of the transept arches.

The decorative stonework at Baltinglass shows an interesting fusion of Cistercian and Irish Romanesque architecture.

The abbey ceased to function in the 16th century but ruins of the church and the cloister still remain.

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