Abbeydorney Church




N 52° 21' 11.94"   W 009° 41' 15.24"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

Q 85041 23755

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Saturday 20 June 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The sad ruins seen from the south.

This church is not marked on the OS Map. Its name is Kyrie Eleison Abbey. The name was chosen due to the similarity to the word "Ciarraí", the Irish name of Kerry.
It was founded in 1154 by the O'Torna, chieftain in this area before the Norman invasion.
At that time it was the first Cistercian abbey in county Kerry, and was a daughter house of the monastery at Nenay (Monasteranenagh), though it hasn't the typical style of a Cistercian building.
Christian O'Conarchy was a young cleric who was sent to Clairvaux by St. Malachy of Armagh so that he could learn the rule of the religious order of St. Bernard. Along with him was a boy who later became Pope with the name of Eugene III.
When Christian finished his study, he returned to Ireland and was one of the founders of Old Mellifont Abbey and its first abbot too.
When St. Malachy died in 1148, Christian was appointed Papal Legate by Pope Eugene III and two years late he was made Bishop of Lismore. In 1180 he resigned his see and came here at the Kyrie Eleison abbey where he died in 1185. He's buried here.

The abbey is in complete ruin, the building is fenced off for safety reasons because some debris could fall off the walls and injure people, and some parts of the east and west gables are propped up with shuttering jacks.
When we came here part of the fence was felled, so we thought it was a good chance to have a look inside.
There are windows in the east and west walls, along with the traces of a tomb in the north wall. We saw several human bones scattered among the old grave markers.
The church is aligned to northeast (60°).

We would have liked to stop here in 2013 when we visited Killahan Church, but we were a bit late on our schedule.

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