Ballymote Friary Church




N 54° 05' 23.0"   W 008° 31' 08.7"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

G 66086 15740

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 5 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

Show Google Map              Show Monuments in the area

The interesting ruins of the abbey at the far end of the graveyard.

This was a nice surprise after visiting Ballymote castle. While we were leaving the castle we saw the ruins of the friary and had a look at them too.

The building is aligned to northeast (65°).
The friary is partially covered by thick ivy, but the southeast and southwest walls are clean. The northeast gable is still intact with its window, but it's completely overgrown, just like the northwest wall.
The inner wall are all covered by the ivy.
In the southeast wall there's a fine arched doorway that defies gravity, only a thin layer of stones remains, and I wonder how long they can resist before crumbling down. There's another doorway in the southwest wall with a carved head above it. According to some sources, this could represent Pope Eugenius IV, who granted permission for founding the friary. This head is adorned with a triple tiara.

The friary was founded in 1442 by three brothers, Patrick, Andrew and Philip O'Coleman of the Third order of St. Francis under the patronage of McDonagh, who owned the castle at that time.
In 1483, Donatus MacDonkayd and a group of accomplices of his attacked and burned the friary and the town, drove the friars into exile and plundered all their goods without an apparent reason, though it's possible that the aggressive way of ruling of McDonagh could have made some local chieftains angry.
The friars returned to the friary, and 101 years after the first attack the friary was destroyed again by the rebels led by Brian Óg O'Rorke to deprive sir Richard Bingham, English Governor of Connacht and owner of the castle in that period, of something very valuable to him.
The friars came back towards the end of the 17th century, but it didn't last, and a few years later the friars were dispersed and the church was abandoned.
Part of its stones was used to build a Mass House in 1725, more stones were used to mark the graves of the poor and the famine victims.

The graveyard adjacent the friary is a real wonder under this point of view.
Hundreds of rough headstones make the place rather unique. A few other gravestones are finely carved.
In the southwest corner of the graveyard there's a chest tomb in commemoration of John Davey, only son of Captain Davey, killed on October 9th, 1845, aged 4 years. He was probably linked to Thady Davey, the secular priest who presided the Mass House after its building.

Browse by Monument Type
Browse by County
Browse by Date of Visit
Browse by Map Number

A-Z List

Clickable Counties
Clickable OS Maps Grid

Find a Map


The days before GPS

The Stones in the Movies


What's NEW?


Site view counter: 22514745

Copyright © 1994-2024 Antonio D'Imperio
All the photos, the graphics and the texts on this website are automatically copyrighted to me under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1886. Any violation of the copyright will be pursued according to the applicable laws.


Powered by AxeCMS/CustomEngine(V0.25.00 build 999) by Sergio "Axeman" Lorenzetti. (C) 2009-2015