Holy Cross Abbey (Mainistir na Croise Naofa)

Holy Cross Abbey


Location: Thurles, County Tipperary Map

Tel. 0504 43124

Open: 9am- 8pm daily

Official site


Description of Holy Cross Abbey

Holy Cross Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery situated near Thurles in a County Tipperary of Ireland. The name of Holy Cross Abbey is given due to a revered relic of a piece of True Cross that was given by Queen Isabella of Angouleme, widow of King John. She thanked the monks for showing kindness by burring her son who was killed in the area in 1233. Piece of true cross was adorned by gold and precious stones. For several centuries many believers came to the Holy Cross Abbey for pilgrimage.
Reformation of Henry VIII and subsequent closure of many monasteries in the area did not pass Holy Cross Abbey. The monastery was disbanded. Several people lived here, but after Cromwellian War in the 17th century it was completely abandoned. Its only purpose was only to bury local people at the monastery cemetery. In 1880 Holy Cross Abbey was declared a national monument, but in 1969 this religious complex was transferred back to its rightful owners- the Catholic Church. Today Holy Cross Abbey is a religious complex of Catholic worship.


The cross-shaped church stands out due to its unusual windows to the West and East as well as to the Southern Cross House. The main ship belongs to the transition style. The Southern Cross House has two Eastern chapels, one with a remarkable vault, separated by a passage, the roof of which is carried by two twisted columns, and possibly was the site of the cross relic. Also the North Cross house with weak traces of a painting has two Eastern chapels. As with most Cistercian monasteries in Ireland, the vation has a square tower. The plastic design of the choir is well preserved thanks to the durability of the local limestone. The choir also houses a monument from the 14th century, called "Tomb of the Good Woman's Son". The monastery is located south of the church, with Cellarium and dormitory in the West and sacristy, chapter Hall and parlor in the East.