13th century Cistercian Abbey
Originally founded by the Benedictine order in 1266, Hore Abbey was given to the Cistercian monks from Mellifont Abbey in 1272 by David McCarvill, Archbishop of nearby Cashel. Tradition says that McCarvill expelled the Benedictine monks after he had a dream that they were about to kill him. He endowed the Abbey generously with land, mills and other buildings previously belonging to the town, which caused local resentment. The Abbey was the last pre-Reformation Cistercian foundation in Ireland. It was never prosperous; at the time of the Dissolution the annual income of the abbey was valued at just £21.
Most of the abbey was built in the thirteenth century, however many changes were made to the buildings in the fifteenth century including the addition of the tower in the centre of the transept. The cruciform church comprised, in addition to the chancel, a nave with aisles and two chapels to the east of each transept. The nave is exceptionally plain and the overall design is a perfect example of the conservative approach of the Cistercians.
Hore was the only Cistercian monastery in Ireland where the cloister was positioned to the north of the abbey. It is thought that the site of the Rock of Cashel, close to the north of the abbey, may explain this departure from the usual arrangement. The ruins are now surrounded by fields of sheep and cattle and can be accessed by the public.
Situated: Hore Abbey is visible from the Rock of Cashel. From King’s Croft road head north on Camus Road, take first left onto St. Patricks rock. Hore Abbey can be seen in a field to the south (left) from this road.
Discovery Map 66: J 0692 4081. Last visit Sept 2009.
Longitude: 7° 53' 53" W
Latitude: 52° 31' 7" N
Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.