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Hospital Abbey Church
 

County

Limerick

Coordinates

N 52° 28' 34.92"   W 008° 25' 57.18"

Nearest town

Hospital

Grid Ref.

R 70615 36192

Map No.

65

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

99

Date of visit

Saturday 18 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The north wall of the church.


Hospital is a town in county Limerick which derives its name from the Hospital of Áine, a hospital for the Knights Hospitaller. In this town a Preceptory, an administrative centre for the order of these monastic knights, was built before 1215 by Geoffrey de Marisco who, shortly after the building of this centre, became Justiciar of Ireland on behalf of King John of England, but he was dismissed some years later because of the corruption of his governorship. He died in 1245.
Before the Reformation of the monastic orders the Preceptory had grown so to include a watermill, 12 cottages, 17 rectories, a priory and other religious buildings. Of all these buildings only the ruins of the abbey survive.
The building is locked and the access is not possible. I also asked the parish priest for the keys but he told me he doesn't have them. The only point of observation upon the ruins is from the the nearby shrine to the west of the ruins.
It seems that along with the religious purposes, this abbey was also built with defensive features, as the slightly battered and thick walls and little and narrow windows suggest.
The east (95°) wall has two narrow windows with a circular opening high in the gable, slightly off centre. Against this wall, on the inner side, there are two interesting grave slabs. The one in the southeast corner is severely damaged and shows a knight hospitaller with his shield and his wife next to him. In the opposite corner is the intact slab for the grave of Geoffrey de Marisco, the founder of the abbey. Outside the west wall, high in what it seems a walled up window, is a nice slab with a crucifixion, probably dating from the 17th century.
Other burials can be found inside the church.


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