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Quin Abbey, Ennis

#3 of 39 in Things to do in Ennis
Religious Site · Historic Site
Quin Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Chuinche), in Quin, County Clare, Ireland, was built between 1402 and 1433 by Sioda Cam MacNamara, for Fathers Purcell and Mooney, friars of the Franciscan order. Although mostly roofless, the structure of the abbey is relatively well preserved. There is an intact cloister, and many other surviving architectural features make the friary of significant historical value.
A far earlier monastery had existed on the site but burned down in 1278. A Norman castle was built soon after by Thomas de Clare, a military commander. The foundations of the castle's enormous corner towers can still be seen. Around 1350 the castle, by then a ruin, was rebuilt as a church by the McNamara clan. The abbey was rebuilt using the south curtain-wall of the old castle. It was this structure which the MacNamaras subsequently rebuilt as the present abbey, properly called a friary. In 1541, during the Reformation, King Henry VIII confiscated the friary and it passed into the hands of Conor O'Brian, Earl of Thomond. In about 1590 the MacNamaras regained control of the site and once again set about repairing and restoring it. In about 1640 the building became a college and is alleged to have had 800 students. Oliver Cromwell arrived only 10 years later, brutally murdering the friars and destroying the friary. In 1671 the building was once again restored, but never regained its former status. Eventually in 1760 the friars were expelled, although the last Friar, John Hogan, remained there until his death in 1820, by which time the buildings were ruined by neglect.
A visitor centre is located near the building and the structure and grounds can be visited free of charge. A caretaker is permanently based at the monument. Floodlighting has recently been installed. The graveyard surrounding the friary is still in use.

The abbey is roughly 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Ennis.

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  • We stayed in Ennis and were looking for old ruins to see in the area. The trip to Quin Abbey was delightful and we would have spent more time in Quin if we had it. The church next door is active so...  more »
  • A beautiful ancient abbey with grave stones. A real pleasure to walk around to see what are family graves through the centuries and still to this day.  more »
  • One of our favorite stops we made in Ireland. It's an open to the public, free admission abbey that is incredibly well kept and never busy. It's deceivingly large, with some great snippets of info regarding the history, construction, and usage of the grounds via well placed plaques.
  • One of my favourite stops to bring guests to when they come to Ireland. Free and well maintained and so rich in history. Plus I love the town of Quin and its Tea house and Pub!

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