Last month, while in Mayo, I had a list of places to see when I arrived in Newport. One of those on the list for the Friday evening I arrived was Burrishoole Abbey, although apparently it’s not an abbey, it’s a friary, as the Dominican order (who it was founded for by Richard de Burgo in 1469) didn’t have any friars.
Burrishoole Abbey is about five minutes drive from Newport out the N59 – the main road towards Achill. When I got to Newport the rain was spilling from the heavens, but it didn’t deter me from sticking to my original plan to visit the Abbey. Unfortunately it wasn’t great weather for photographs and the photos I took probably show what a miserable evening it was. Still, they might give you an inclination to go and visit the abbey should you be passing through the area.
Burrishoole Abbey is both beautiful and fascinating. The original abbey was a timber structure, but I suppose that was never going to end well considering how many churches were being plundered and burnt down during the Cromwellian invasion. Permission was granted by the Bishop of Tuam to erect a stone walled abbey, although this was done without the required approval from the Pope who appears to have been a bit miffed by this and described the building as “irregular”. He later forgave everyone and gave his permission for a larger abbey with dormitories, cloisters, a cemetery and a church.
The ruins inside are very interesting. The O’Kelly tomb, date 1623, is the oldest tomb in the church (pictured in the left hand side corner of the photo below).
The headstone above really captured my interest. Peggy Cadden writes, in detail, about Jim Moran, The Newport Volunteer, on ouririshheritage.org. You can read the article here – Jim Moran – The Newport Volunteer.
I always think that headstones overlooking the sea are so sad and tragic looking, but maybe it’s just because most of the time I come across them, the day is bleak and cheerless. I hope to get back to this marvellous abbey and do a bit more scooting around it.