Arigna to Tipperary & back again!

In arigna, Off the beaten track. on April 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Just back from a few days in Tipperary visiting the folks. My Mother, 2 brothers and their families live there. After treating my Mother, Lizzie, and 2 neices to Sunday lunch we decided to go to Kilcooley Abbey which is a short drive from Thurles near the village of Gortnahoe.

Kilcooley Abbey.

The Cistercian Abbey was built in 1182 by Donal O’Brien the then King of Munster. It is a fine limestone building and one can imagine it as a hive of activity in olden days.

On entering the site your eye is first taken by the beehive shaped hut situated outside the Abbey walls. Local historians have come up with various theories about this building. One suggestion was a Columbarium (a place where cremated remains were kept), but most believe it to be a dovecote.

The 3ft wide hole in the ceiling would seem to add credibility to this opinion. The doves would have left and entered through here.

On entering the ruins one’s attention is immediately taken by the tower with the beautiful Gothic east window below it.

It’s hard to believe this amazing stonework was done in the 12th century by someone with just hammer and chisel! True skill and artwork. I returned to gaze in awe at it half a dozen times.The presence of this baptismal font shows that Kilcooley was a place used by the surrounding parish. It is in perfect condition with no restoration evident. What a place to have as your parish church and centre of the community! Will post some more pics tomorrow, am off now to recover after a 3 hour drive.

  1. My daughter had her wedding photo’s taken at Kilcooley Abbey and the house. It was a fabulous setting.

  2. Hi Bridget,just read your April 5TH entry about Kilcooley Abbey,my late Mother came from Gortnahoe!Her parents are buried in Boulick cemetary outside the village,there is an old ruin there on the site too but I think Kilcooley must be elsewhere,I do not think I have ever been there unless as a child which I cannot remember!Must go on my next visit.My Mother died 5yrs ago this April 25th,and like your own Mam was a hive of industry in all things,even keeping hens in a suburban back garden in Cork City at one time!
    They were a different breed!

    • Must check out that cemetery when I go down next time, sounds interesting. I love those old sites and the history they hold. They take me back to another time. It is nice to see those skills our Mothers had/have been brought back again.

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