Duiske Abbey, County Kilkenny

Duiske Abbey National Monument, also known as Graiguenamanagh Abbey, is a 13th-century Cistercian monastery situated in Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny in Ireland.
Duiske Abbey was founded by William Marshal in 1204 and is one of the first, largest and perhaps the finest of the thirty-four medieval Cistercian monasteries in Ireland. The Abbey is the parish church of Graiguenamanagh town and beautifully dominates the town centre.
The Abbey is located in the valley of the river Barrow, on a site between the main river and the Duiske tributary. The abbey derives its name from the Douskey River.
The Abbey was founded in 1204 by William Marshall the elder, earl of Pembroke, and was colonised with monks from Stanley in Wiltshire. The monks may not have arrived at Graiguenamangh until 1207, but it seems that building may have begun in 1204 when the cemetery at Duiske was consecrated.
In 1228 the religious community was fixed at thirty-six monks and fifty lay-brothers which was almost as large as Mellifont Abbey. The abbot of Duiske sat as a peer in parliament at that time.
The Abbey was suppressed under Henry VIII in 1536 and the last abbot, Charles O'Cavanagh, resigned his title. Monks continued to occupy it but it began to fall into ruin. Following the dissolution the lands were awarded to James Butler of Duiske. The abbey church continued to be used as a local place of worship. The Church of Ireland re-roofed the west end after the tower collapsed into the nave in 1744. The church was returned to the Roman Catholic community in 1812 and restoration was completed in the 1980s. Currently it is used as a parish church and music events are held there.
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  • This 800 year plus old restored Abbey was totally amazing to see. On the outside it is an impressive stone structure with adjoining cemetery that you cannot not miss as you drive into...  more »
  • From an architectural point of view, this building is spectacular. The interior has been finished to a high standard both of materials and authenticity, and there is a good deal of information...  more »
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