Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey


Location: Thomastown Map

Constructed: 12th century


Description of Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey is a ruined Roman Catholic complex in County Kilkenny of Ireland. Jerpoint Abbey was build in 1180 on the site of the earlier Benedictine monastery build there by King of Soraige- Domnal MacGillpatraic. This magnificent example of Irish medieval architecture also preserved many stone carvings of bishops, dragons and even a main with a stomach ache. The earliest parts of Jerpoint Abbey is the altar where Bishop O’Dulany is buried (died 1202) and a transepts. The nave where choir once sang was completed in the late twelfth century. The monastery was dissolved in 1540 and next year it passed to James, Earl of Ormand. Although today it is a national monument (since 1880) people are still buried on the grounds of the Jerpoint Abbey.


The monastery was built not later than 1180 by Donal Mac Gillapatrick, King of Ossory and Cistercians, probably on the remains of a Benedictine monastery started in 1158, as the daughter monastery of Baltinglass Abbey. After a revolt of the Irish Cistercian monasteries in 1217 (riot of Jerpoint), followed by the conspiracy of Mellifont, the abbot was deposed and the monastery was placed under the monastery of Fountain in Yorkshire. About 50 years later independence was restored. In the 15th century the tower was built. At that time there was a patronage of the Butler family from Kilkenny. The monastery was dissolved in 1540, as only one Abbot and five monks lived here. Until the end of the 17th century, the Abbey belonged to the Butler family. Since 1880, Jerpoint Abbey has been a national monument.

The Abbey consists of a cross-shaped nave, a chancel and Transepts. The tower was built in the 15th century. To the South is the cloister. Around the Abbey there were other buildings, cemeteries and gardens. The church, the chapter Hall, the kitchen with a dining room (refectory) and the storage and sleeping rooms are also available. In addition, several tombstones from the 13th to 16th century have been preserved. Among them is Felix O'dullany († 1202), the first abbot of Jerpoint and Bishop of Ossory.

The main nave and the altar space
The main ship used to be made up of two rooms, the dividing wall is still visible today. The southern wall is no longer available. The windows in the main ship are upstairs. Today, the pillars of the Northern portico are still standing.

The chancel is the oldest part of the Church. The 14th-century Eastern window has still been preserved. On the north side, remains of murals can be seen.

The Cross Houses
In the Northern transept, the tombs Dating back to the 15. Century housed. In the southern part of the Northern transept there is a plate with a group of saints called the weepers (weeping). The plate was in the 15. Century by the stone tower and cloister date. In the southern transept is a grave slab, with chain mail clad brethren (The Brethren) are located in the southern chapel. This is in addition to Cantwell Fada in the nearby Kilfane one of the most important depictions of this kind.

The tower and cloister
The tower was built in the 15. Century. Since a Cistercian monastery does not usually have a stone tower, it is assumed today that in the 15th century it was no longer so serious with abstinence.

In the cloister carvings were restored in 1953.