Old Irish Abbeys & Church’s
Boyne Valley’s old Irish abbeys & churches found along the driving route are sites not to be missed as they offer majestic views of a time gone by. It was in Boyne Valley that St.Patrick started his religious conquest of the country and this is reflected in the many beautiful religious structures in the region.
Ardmulchan Church dates back to the 12th century and was constructed very close to a defensive motte fortification. What’s left of the church are ruins that stand tall giving a great vantage point of the surrounding area.
Bective Abbey was also built in the 12th century and was Ireland’s second Cistercian abbey. In its day it was considered to be one of the country’s most significant religious establishments. Today you’ll find impressive ruins of a time long ago that will bring out your inner explorer. The site was built on high ground overlooking the River Boyne providing some beautiful views.
Donaghmore Round Tower & Cemetery is a great insight into medieval Ireland. It is believed that the tower was built in the 15th century on the site of a monastery founded by St. Patrick in the 5th century. On site you’ll also find the remains of a 16th century church adding to the historical splendour.
Donaghpatrick Church was built in 1896 also on the site on one of St. Patrick’s monasteries. History tells us that this was the site of the first baptism of a Royal Chieftain of Ireland paving the way for the rest of the country. The architecture found here, designed by J.F. Fuller, is an incredible feat as it incorporates the medieval tower of St. Patrick’s ruined church.
Duleek Abbey is another site where St. Patrick founded a monastic settlement in 450 AD. The ruins of the church lay opposite an Augustinian Priory built in the 12th century. This settlement was constantly attacked by the Vikings yet the community survived. Irish High King Brian Boru’s, the man who defeated the Vikings, body resided in the abbey before being transported to Armagh.
Old Mellifont Abbey’s ruins can be found near Drogheda dating back to the 12th century. This was the first Cistercian Abbey to be built in Ireland. The abbeys purpose changed from one of religion to a military fortification in the 17th century. There is a visitor’s centre on site that offer tours and also exhibits rescued carvings from the ruins.
St. Mary’s Abbey is believed to be built on the site of St. Patrick’s first great church. This site was attacked by invading forces and destroyed twice in 1108 and again 1127. There are miraculous stories that are adjoined to this location and especially the statue of our Lady of Trymme. All that’s left of the church now is a high rising steeple that once housed the church bells.
St. Peter’s Church is one of the most impressive churches located along the route. It is located in the town of Drogheda and is one of the best examples of a Gothic Revival Church in Ireland. The present church was built in 1880 on the site of the original 1791 structure. It has been home to the remains of St. Oliver Plunkett since 1921.