Jerpoint Abbey:  10 Things to Know About this Historic Irish Landmark

Jerpoint Abbey stands proudly in the County of Kilkenny and the Province of Leinster. This beautiful landmark is truly history in ruin. To see it for yourself, set off from Dublin Airport and drive for about 90 minutes due south. 

Irish Expressions - Jerpoint Abbey

The journey takes you from M7 to M9 before taking you along the R448 that leads to Jerpoint and its visitor center.

Things to Know About Jerpoint 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.

  • Built in the 12th century, the abbey was commissioned by the King of Osraige, and it was home to Cistercian and Benedictine monks throughout history.
  • The abbey is worth visiting because it boasts an extensive visitor center, and because many of its key architectural features are visible.
  • Look for the Romanesque details carved into the church, the ornate tomb sculptures in the transept and the carvings in the cloister arcade.
  • Jerpoint Abbey is Cistercian, meaning that it has long been associated with a specific religious group of monks and nuns. 
  • The abbey was built in 1180 by Donchadh Ó Donnchadha Mac Giolla Phátraic, a King of Osraige. The king commissioned the Abbey to give the monks a new home and place of worship.
  • For centuries, the Abbey was a thriving religious site. In the 16th century, however, came the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
  • This was an act of Henry VIII, who disbanded religious sites in the region as a way to increase revenue. Items of value were sold off to bring in money for the crown.
  • As a result, the Abbey became the property of James Butler, the 9th Earl of Ormond. It became a private residence and a gathering place for the nobles and wealthy families of the area.
  • By 1880, after much neglect, Jerpoint Abbey was passed to the Office of Public Works. In the years following, the abbey was declared a national monument.
  • Visitors come to to see the historically and architecturally significant ruins. Of note is the final resting place of Felix O’Dulany, the abbey's very first abbot.
  • You can see a number of fascinating tombs at the Abbey. Many date back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. On top of these tombs are ornate sculptures that are truly works of art.
  • There is a visitor's center and an exhibition center to enjoy. Heading into both can set the tone for your visit and help you get more familiar with the monument.
  • If you have time for one more stop, visit Newtown Jerpoint. Explore these church ruins for a complete day in the region.

You can learn more about this lovely 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!