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Black Abbey Church
 

County

Kildare

Coordinates

N 53° 08' 43.3"   W 006° 54' 14.4"

Nearest town

Kildare

Grid Ref.

N 73388 11070

Map No.

55

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

95

Date of visit

Sunday 9 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The ruins of the Black Abbey seen from the southwest. The grass needed a cut.


It wasn't easy to find the way to access this church. We first tried through the Japanese Gardens, but they told us that we had to try another way from the main road. After some attempts we found a small timber gate on Tully Road. From here a small path leads to the grounds of the old abbey.
The abbey was built in the 13th century by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights of Malta. It seems that this site was of great importance at that time because several of the Chapters of the Order was kept here and many local lords patronized the place.
The Knights of this Order used to wear black habits and this gave the name to the abbey.
The suppression of the religious orders by king Henry VIII and the confiscation of the lands led to the neglect of the abbey.
Today all that remains of the abbey is a massive square tower and the remnants of the nave to the west of the tower and the chancel to the east. It seems that another tall building was attached to the tower on its north side, because there are signs of a roof. A pointed archway, now walled up, would have led to this building from the tower.


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