The Abbey of Boyle

We say goodbye to Lough Boora – leave two beach stones from home, for sons emigrated

two son stones                We travel northwards and land at the recently restoration Abbey at Boyle.

Boyle AbbeyThis glass structure replicates an Elizabethan lean-to addition, when the abbey was  converted to a barracks in 1592interior glass Prior to that, Cistercians founded the abbey around 1161.  Respecting Celtic monastic buildings they joined their abbey to this now stump of a round tower

round tower Before restoration,  old Lime mortar was sent off for analysis and matched as closely as possible by French Lime.

Old and new Lime on a vaulted ceiling

Old and new Lime on a vaulted ceiling

It is thought the church took about sixty years to complete with the final section being finished in around 1226

abbey stonesLittle remains of the cloister due to besigement by Cromwellians in 1648

cloistergereniumBut the scale and majesty of this place can’t fail to impress – indeed it is one of the most formidable of the Cistercian Abbeys in Ireland

The Abbey of Boyle

The Abbey of Boyle

The design – influenced by styles from Burgundy from whence the Cistercians came to Ireland –  is in the form of a Latin cross, about forty meters long and twenty meters wide, oriented east-west, with the choir and altar at the east end

west Of special interest are the decorated corbels and capitals – believed to be the work of local masons.

carved capital


animal carving

Wild animals eat a human head

Among the most mysterious and intriguing is the so-called ‘green man’ – positioned opposite to the “Door of the Dead” – where after mass they carried out the bodies of monks who had died.  It looks like a strange mask.

'Green Man'

‘Green Man’

Diagonally opposing the ‘death door’ and quite difficult to spot, perched high upon her cylindrical pillar

western corner                                 That most special kind of Irish woman – ‘Sheela na gig’

Sheela na gig

Síle na gcíoch


4 thoughts on “The Abbey of Boyle

    1. It seems that the site of the abbey, which was gifted to the Cistercians, was prior a sacred pagan site as indicated by the presence of the Síle na gcíoch and other raucous carvings, but also a sun wheel carving which was tucked away in the small museum.

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