Wednesday, June 8, 2011
There are very strange ancient feelings around this site I often go to sketch and paint in and around the ruins I get the same feeling at some other old monasteries
Athassel Abbey situated a short distance south of Golden, built in the 12th Century, was the most impressive achievement of the Augustinians. One of the country's most extensive monasteries, its courts cover nearly four acres.
Following the death of Strongbow, Henry II wished to pursue a more peaceful policy in his governance of Ireland. In 1176 he sent his kinsman, William de Burgho, to govern in his name, and he charged him with replacing the harsh diplomacy of the sword with the serenity of religion. The Priory at Athassel was quickly established by William, and the years that followed saw the Abbey flourish into a centre of great spiritual and political importance.
The Abbey was twice burned, first in 1329 by Brian, King of Thomond, and again in 1581, by John Fitzgerald of Desmond. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century the property was granted to Thomas, Earl of Ormond. The buildings were subsequently neglected and fell into ruin, The nave of the Abbey is today used as a cemetery, and among the many bodies laid to rest in the chapel is that of William de Burgho, the man who established Athassel over 800 years ago.