Posted by: mdmusingsie | September 18, 2012

Monastery Kin

Leaving Sligo and heading back south we stopped at Boyle Abbey in County Roscommon.  Boyle is considered a daughter abbey to Mellifont which is north of Dublin, which I visited just last month.

Currently under restoration and renovation, the late 12th century abbey now sports a glass atrium-like structure attached to the north side of the nave.  The glass structure replaces several stone buttresses which were no longer adequately supporting the north wall.  While not meant to represent what the real structure would have been in looks, it does represent the size and style of the north and south sections.

A unique feature of the standing nave walls are the arches – pointed on the north side and rounded on the south.  Between the arches are decorative corbels which helped support a second floor.  Inside the arches were other decorative pillars. All this decoration is in direct contrast with the austerity and simplicity that were originally at the core of Cistercian beliefs.

By the late 16th century, the abbey was transferred as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries to William Usher and was in military use through the end of the 18th century.   Now we can only imagine what it would have been like in its heyday.

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