Kells Priory

Kells , Co. Kilkenny

Kells Priory
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About Kells Priory

Kells Priory in Kells, Co. Kilkenny.

Kells Priory is one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland.

It was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert in 1193 when he brought four Augustinian Canons over from Cornwall. FitzRobert was brother-in-law to Strongbow and the priory succeeded an earlier church which was dedicated to St. Mary, the Blessed Virgin and served as parish church to nearby Kells village.

In its first 150 years it was burned on occasions in 1252, 1326 and 1327. The fortifications date back to this period. The priory is divided into two parts, an inner monastic precinct alongside the river and a large outer enclosure to the south which was added in the 15th century.

Following the dissolution of monasteries during the Reformation under Henry VIII in 1540, the priory was closed and ownership passed to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde. Following the Cromwellian period, the barony was further dissipated and the priory went into further decline.

Image © Copyright Dave Henderson and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons.

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