Glenstal Abbey:  Fun Facts to Know About This Majestic Irish Structure

School is in session at Glenstal Abbey, the castle monastery turned boy's school in Limerick County, Munster Province. Located in Southwest Ireland, the  Abbey is approximately a two-hour drive from Dublin Airport. 

Irish Expressions - Glenstal Abbey.

Most of the journey will be along M7, and R506 will bring you to Main Street in Murroe and then to the Abbey.    

Things to Know About Glenstal Abbey

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • Glenstal, located in Murroe, County Limerick, is actually an abbey rather than a castle.
  • Built in the Norman Revivalist style, but with a Windsor round tower, the abbey was constructed in the 19th century but designed to look like it has come from the 12th century.
  • Glenstal was once the center of the town, and today it serves as a monastery and as an all-boy's school for approximately 200 students.
  • Glenstal Abbey was built in the 1830s for the Barrington Family. This might come as a surprise, because the style is much older. At the time of construction, it was built to look much older, and it is designed in the Norman Revivalist style.
  • The architect, William Bardwell, inscribed his name on the castle along with the date of construction. This was a common practice at the time. Bardwell, however, desperate to make the abbey appear like it came from the 12th century, changed the date to read 1139 instead of 1839 on the inscription!
  • Glenstal Abbey looks a lot like Windsor Castle. It boasts a massive drum tower, a Norman gatehouse and an enormous wall that gives the property a lot of privacy and protection.
  • The word Glenstal comes from the Irish phrase Gleann Stail. In English, that translates to Glen of the Stallion.
  • The Abbey is built with red sandstone. This local material was also used to construct many of the surrounding buildings.
  • The entire village of Glenstal grew out of the construction of the abbey. Many of the builders and craftsmen who came to construct the Abbey ended up settling in the area. 
  • In 1927, the Barrington Family had moved to England and decided to sell the property.  It was purchased by the Benedictine Order, who turned it into an operational monastery by 1957.
  • While Glenstal is still a working monastery and school, day visitors are welcome. You can walk the front and back avenues, attend mass or visit the shop at reception.
  • There are even guest rooms available for overnight visits. This is a great idea for those in search of a few days of silence and reflection in a piece of history.

You can find more information about this interesting Irish landmark here.

Want More Irish Castles?

It is probably obvious - at Irish Expressions, we love Irish castles!  The Emerald Isle is dotted with hundreds of these incredible structures.  

Sharing pictures and stories about them gives us a deeper sense of connection with Ireland, wherever in the world we happen to be!

We have captured the most amazing pictures and descriptions of Irish castles in an e-book we call "An Illustrated Guide to Irish Castles and Abbeys."

This fun, free guide is available to you to download.  Scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email to get instant access!

That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring the castles of Ireland offers many opportunities for enjoying an Irish experience and expressing your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!