Abbeys

History of Co. Mayo in the West of Ireland

Ireland has been known through the centuries as the Island of Saints and Scholars. Our Patron Saint Patrick converted the Emerald Isle to Catholicism and founded many monasteries to keep the flame alive. Monasticism expanded from 432 to the suppression of monasteries under Henry VIII in 16th century.

Christianity took strong roots in County Mayo and some of the Mayo abbeys are among the most attractive ruins in Ireland. Several Orders of Friars had their monasteries here.

Moyne Abbey was one of the chief houses for the Franciscans of the Strict Obedience and many young Irish Franciscans studied here. The nearby Rosserk Abbey was built for the Franciscan Third Order Regular (TOR), which was made up of both males and females clerics and non-clerical members, but here, in the West of Ireland, the community was wholly male. Teaching was the mission of the religious. They were focused on the cultural and local interests of Gaelic Ireland, for this reason history, songs, sagas, and stories of heroes were preserved.

Urlaur Abbey and Burrishovole Abbey were Dominican friary. Murrisk Abbey and Ballintubber Abbey were founded for the friars following the rule of Saint Augustine.

These are some of the best and most celebrated examples. A visit throughout Mayo must include one of them!

Moyen Abbey
Moyne Abbey

Moyne Abbey is located on the west side of Killala Bay, near Ballina. It is one of most impressive ecclesiastical ruins in Mayo and a National Monument. The Abbey was placed in an evocative and delightful retreat.

Rosserk Abbey
Rosserk Abbey

Rosserk Abbey, situated 7 km north of Ballina is generally accepted as the finest Franciscan construction in the country and is certainly the best preserved.

Burrishoole Abbey
Burrishoole Abbey

Burrishoole Abbey, a National Monument located near [Newport], is a hauntingly beautiful ruin. It lies at the edge of a quiet tidal estuary.

Ballintubber Abbey
Ballintubber Abbey

Ballintubber Abbey is known as "the Abbey that refused to die”. The Mass has been said here without a break since the year of its foundation in 1216 despite years of continuous attacks and religious repression.

Murrisk Abbey
Murrisk Abbey

Murrisk Abbey is an ancient abbey built on the site of a previous church founded by St. Patrick. It is located quite close to the sea overlooking the majestic Clew Bay and its ruins are considerable and well preserved.

Urlaur Abbey
Urlaur Abbey

Urlaub Abbey lies on the shores of Urlaur Lake, near Kilkelly. It is a hidden gem, a must for all tourists. The retreat is remote and peaceful and the Abbey has been remarkably well preserved.