In the fifth century St. Patrick began the spread of Christianity in Ireland by baptizing the ruler in that faith. From then on, the establishment of various monasteries began, large and small, popular and unknown, rich and not so rich. Some of them have survived to this day, so that we can touch antiquity and feel the medieval spiritual atmosphere. One such abbey is Mellifont. Today it is almost ruined, but even the moss-covered tombstones and Celtic crosses are a must for all sightseers, which can tell much more with their quietness than quiet urban sites.
History of Mellifont Abbey
Mellifont was founded in 1140 by the Archbishop of Armagh, later canonized as Malachy, and Bernard of Clairvaux. The monastery became the first stronghold of the Cistercian monks in Ireland.
By 1170 the monastery had more than three thousand novices - brothers preparing for monasticism - and about a thousand who had already taken monastic vows. The complex was so magnificent and beautiful that many important meetings, events and negotiations were held there - one could say that Mellifont was an important religious, cultural and historical center of Droeda.
In 1539 the monastery was dissolved, the building began to play the role of a fortress until it fell into disrepair and was completely closed in 1603.
A mighty abbey these days
The former glory and power did not help Mellifont to remain undestroyed and survive to this day. Only a small part of the sites that may be of interest to tourists has survived:
- The octagonal tower, in which, according to researchers, the monks performed rites of baptism and ablutions.
- Part of the majestic capitulum with arcades
- Twelfth century temple, which now houses the crypt, choir and nave.
- Ancient tombs of monks, bishops, warriors
- Celtic crosses.
- The monastery is located 50 kilometers from the capital of Ireland, Dublin.
- The Bishop of Malachi, founder of the abbey, was buried in Mellifont in 1194.
- William of Orange, leader of the Battle of the Boyne, used the monastery as his residence.