Cahir Abbey Church




N 52° 22' 46.2"   W 007° 55' 42.42"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

S 04872 25330

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Thursday 18 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The abbey seen from the north.

We came here before, twice, both times in a miserable weather and with the gate closed.

The name of the building is St. Mary's Priory, but it's widely known as Cahir Abbey.
It was built by Geoffrey de Camville, Baron of Cahir and Fedamore, in 1220 for the Augustinian Canons Regular.
The original building was a short church, with a cloister and other buildings at the north of it. The domestic buildings included a sacristy, a chapter house and a kitchen along with a dining room in the south range.
Two centuries later the abbey was altered, with the insertion of two nice windows, one in the north wall the other above the altar. At the west end of the chancel a massive crossing tower was built in the same period.
In the 16th century this tower was remodeled as a residence and in the same period the nave was destroyed, while a second tower was built in the southeast corner of the cloister.
During the dissolution of the monasteries under king Henry VIII, this church was saved because it was considered the Parish church of Cahir. All the other buildings were given to Sir Thomas Butler.

What remains today are the long chancel, about 19 metres in length and 7.70 metres in width, and the beautiful tower which can be accessed up to the top. There are 34 steps to the first room, which measures 6.40 metres by 4.40 metres, and 10 more steps to the second room, which measures 2.30 metres by 1.80 metres. The tower measures 7.70 metres in width and 5 metres in length.
The rest of the adjacent buildings are in a terrible state. The east range is half-destroyed, nothing remains of the south and west ranges and the cloister. The 16th century tower is still standing. Unfortunately the access to these ruins is denied, so we weren't able to see the conditions of the tower. Someone composed the name ADAM among the ruins of the cloister using loose stones from the walls.
Decorations can be found all over the church, from the said windows, with many carved heads, to the jambs of doorway, with floral interlaced patterns. Some mason's marks can be found here and there.
The building is aligned to east (85°).

We visited this place for the first time on June 6th, 2001.

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