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Jerpoint Abbey

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Jerpoint Abbey
Mainistir Sheireapúin
East front of Jerpoint Abbey
Jerpoint Abbey
Location within Ireland
Monastery information
Founder(s)Donchadh Ó Donnchadha Mac Giolla Phátraic, King of Osraige
LocationThomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Coordinates52°30′39″N 7°09′29″W / 52.51093°N 07.15798°W / 52.51093; -07.15798Coordinates: 52°30′39″N 7°09′29″W / 52.51093°N 07.15798°W / 52.51093; -07.15798
Public accessNo
Official nameJerpoint Abbey
Reference no.80

Jerpoint Abbey is a ruined Cistercian abbey, founded in the second half of the 12th century, near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. It is located 2.5 km south west from Thomastown on the R448 regional road. There is a Visitor Centre with an exhibition. It has been declared a national monument and has been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880.

It was constructed by in 1180, by Donchadh Ó Donnchadha Mac Giolla Phátraic, the King of Osraige. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. Jerpoint is notable for its stone carvings, including one at the tomb of Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory. The abbey flourished until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by the English king Henry VIII.

Jerpoint Abbey gives its name to the civil parish of Jerpoint Abbey or Abbey-Jerpoint in the barony of Knocktopher. It lies near the anciently corporate town of Newtown Jerpoint.


Abbey ruins from above
Abbey ruins from above

In 1180, by Donogh O'Donoghoe Mac Gilla Patraic, the King of Kingdom of Ossory, moved the monks of the Cistercian Order from a distant part of Ossory to the present site. Here he constructed the abbey, probably on the site of an earlier Benedictine monastery built in 1160 by Domnall Mac Gilla Patraic, King of Osraige.[1]

The abbey continued to flourish until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. It was surrendered to the king by Oliver Grace, the last abbot. In 1541 it was granted by Philip and Mary to James Butler, the 9th Earl Earl of Ormond. The abbey became a favourite place of sepulture with all the great families in the surrounding country. In 1202, Felix O'Dullany, Bishop of Ossory, was interred here.

It has been declared a national monument and has been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880.


The Weepers
The Weepers
The Cloister Arcade
The Cloister Arcade
Grave of "The Brethren"
Grave of "The Brethren"

The present ruins are very extensive and display some specimens of the later Norman passing into the early English style of architecture. Jerpoint is notable for its stone carvings, including one at the tomb of Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory.

There is a well-proportioned, square, embattled tower. The church with its Romanesque details dates from the 12th century. In the transept chapels are 13th to 16th century tomb sculptures. The tower and cloister date from the 15th century. In the Abbey is the sculptured cloister arcade with unique carvings.


Close to Jerpoint Abbey, at Newtown Jerpoint, are the ruins of a church where a local legend places the grave of Saint Nicholas.[2]


  • William of Jerpoint, was elected Bishop of Cork in March 1265 until November 1266.

See also



  • Anderson, Paris (1848), Nooks and Corners of County Kilkenny. (PDF), Kilkenny: Kilkenny People Printing Works, James's Street.
  • Mac Annaidh, S (2001), Illustrated Dictionary of Irish History., Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
  • O'Conbhuidhe, Colmcille (1963), "The origins of Jerpoint abbey, Co. Kilkenny", Cîteaux; Commentarii Cistercienses, pp. 293–306.
  • Ford, Linda; William Doran (1980). "Wall paintings at Jerpoint Abbey, Co. Kilkenny—a note". Old Kilkenny Review. 2 (2): 71–72..
  • Hegarty, Maureen (1971). "Jerpoint". Old Kilkenny Review (23): 4–14..
  • Heritage Council. Conservation Plan: Newtown Jerpoint County Kilkenny (PDF). The Heritage Council..
  • Harbison, Peter (1973). "An illustration of the lost Walsh knight from the Jerpoint Cloister arcade". Old Kilkenny Review (25): 13–15..
  • Kilroy, Deirdre (1990). "Essays from Project 1989 Irish National Heritage: The ancient church at Newtown Jerpoint". Old Kilkenny Review. 4 (2): 782–784..
  • KAS (2004). "Jerpoint Abbey: an historical perspective". Old Kilkenny Review: 125–138..
  • Langrishe, R. (1906). "Notes on Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 36 (36): 179–97. JSTOR 25507522..
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Jerpoint Abbey
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