This afternoon, I am posting information on a fascinating abbey which I encountered by chance during a recent tour of Ireland.

Jerpoint Abbey stands on the banks of the Little Arrigle river about 2km from Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. The Abbey was founded in c 1160 but by 1180 had been colonised by Cistercian monks from Baltinglass Abbey, Co. Wicklow.

By 1228 the religious complement comprised 36 monks and 50 lay brothers.

The tower was constructed in the 15th century. By time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 the complement had decreased to the abbot and five monks. At that time the Abbey controlled some 14,500 acres of land.

The plan of the abbey follows the conventional Cistercian layout with cruciform church of nave, chancel and transepts: a crossing tower was added in the 15th century. the cloister lies to the south of the church.

Overall, and relative to its age and condition, the abbey is in a good state of repair. I was particularly impressed by the quality and preservation of the carvings together with remnants of coloured armorial wall paintings.

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