Black Abbey

Abbey Street , Kilkenny , Co. Kilkenny

Black Abbey
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About Black Abbey

Black Abbey is located at Abbey Street in Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny.

Founded in 1225 for the Dominican order by William Marshall the younger, Earl of Pembroke, the abbey is located outside the walls of ancient city.

In 1349, the community within the priory was severely affected by the Black Death. Eight members of the community died are said to have died in a single day. After the plague years, very few structural changes were carried out at the priory up until the end of 15th century. In 1540 the priory and it's property were confiscated by Elizabeth I of England and under James 1 it became a courthouse.

From 1642 to 1649, Black Abbey played a major part in attempting to save both the Irish religion and the king, Charles I of England and of Ireland; the abbey hosted the government known as the Irish Catholic Confederation and in March 1650, the English army under the command of Oliver Cromwell surrounded Kilkenny in a siege. Many people died from epidemic and hunger, many more fled before the city finally surrendered.

From 1685 to 1689 under the rule of King James II of England, the abbey flourished, but in 1690, under the rule of the King William III of England, both Kilkenny and the abbey were once again occupied by the English.

By 1776, the community of the Black Abbey was close to zero, but the Dominicans retook possession of the abbey, first by renting it and by 1816 Black Abbey was restored as a Dominican priory. The first public mass was held on September 25th, 1816.

On Trinity Sunday, 22nd of May 1864, Black Abbey was reconsecrated by the bishop, and was finally opened again as a house of prayer.

Image © Copyright Eirian Evans and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons.

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