Duiske Abbey ...

Duiske Abbey
Duiske Abbey, now the Catholic parish church, but once the church of a 13th century Cistercian monastery, founded in 1204, the remains of which have been incorporated into the building. Duiske Abbey, the largest of Irish Cistercian monastery churches and whose buildings encompassed much of the town, began to fall apart in 1536 when it was suppressed. Although the monks continued to occupy it for many years, it gradually fell into ruin. The last tragedy was in 1744, when the tower collapsed into the nave. However, the debris from the tower was smoothed over to create a new floor and the west end was re-roofed to make a place of worship for the Protestant Church of Ireland. In 1812 the church was returned to the Catholic community and the long work of restoration began ? to be completed finally in the 1980?s. Its unprepossessing exterior contrasts with a splendid vista once the door is opened. The long nave, with its ancient stone and high clerestory windows, conveys the simplicity and serenity the monks knew.

Duiske Abbey
As a link with the past, an effigy of a 13th century knight found in the ruins was installed by the main entrance. He is unidentified but known locally as the ?Crusader?? but he makes a suitable guardian. Descend some steps from the south transept ? to the original pre-1744 floor level ? to see the magnificent Transitional (between Romanesque and Gothic) processional door of about 1220, used by the monks on ceremonial occasions and still there after seven centuries. The Aughtiltan and Ballyogen Crosses, dating from the 08th and 09th centuries, are to be seen in the churchyard. Examples of the early medieval floor tiles can be seen in the original floor to the right of the main entrance.

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