The first Cistercian monastery to have been built in Ireland was situated on the banks of the River Mattock, 10km west of Drogheda. The order of St. Malachy, greatly influenced by St. Bernard based in Clairvaux, France, founded Mellifont Abbey in AD 1142. The Cistercians were brought to Ireland because of their rigorous monastic style, it was felt that other orders were more than a little ‘soft’. The new monastery became a model for others built around Ireland and maintained supremacy over them for the next 400 years.
The abbey was closed in AD1539 but was later used as William of Orange’s headquarters during the Battle of the Boyne.
Kapoors On The Road
Ruins are all that remain today but it is an atmospheric place to visit and the women who give the guided tours are enthusiastic to say the least. We arrived with another couple of women to find the guide preparing to give a tour to a group of high school students. We joined in rather than wait a full hour for her to be free to show us around and we were completely entertained by knowledge and by the complete lack of interest shown by the majority of the students. Anil identified with the keeners, and I have to admit I would have been on of the girls taking about anything but ancient history on such a field trip in my teens.