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St. Mary's Abbey Church
 

County

Louth

Coordinates

N 53° 57' 12.2"   W 006° 32' 38.9"

Nearest town

Louth

Grid Ref.

H 95627 01425

Map No.

36

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

37

Date of visit

Friday 30 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The romantic grassy path that leads to the ruins of the abbey.


This is a huge ruined church. The first time that we came here was on September 8th, 2003 and we were impressed mainly by its size, it's extremely long. Though it's not particularly looked after it has something intriguing.
What we can see here are the remains of a building built over the ruins of an earlier church destroyed by a fire in 1312. This earlier church was in the Romanesque style as some remnants built into the present church may suggest, and it was likely built in 1148 under the power of Donough O'Cearbhaill, king of Oirghiall, and Aodh O'Ceallaidh, Bishop of Louth, and dedicated to St. Mary.
Louth Village was a focal point for the religious community and the diocese. The Augustinian Provincial Chapter was convened here in 1242 when the relics of St. Mochta were brought here from Rome. In 1325 the General Chapter of Augustinian Canons was held here, and the church had been completed for the occasion.
The monastery was suppressed during the Reformation in the 1535 and the abbey became a Church of Ireland church until its destruction by Cromwell's army.
The abbey is in the heart of Louth village and is accessed along a wide and grassy path.
The building has a doorway in the south (200°) wall which has plenty of large windows, one of them has hints of a lost tracery, like the east and west windows, now partially walled up. The north wall is quite plain and featureless.
The graveyard on its south and east side has some interesting gravestones and also a vaulted family tomb through which iron gate it's possible to see some long human bones.
About 60 metres to the west is the St. Mochta's House.


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