Illustrated Catholic Family Annual – Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint AbbeyArticle

Jerpoint Abbey is situated near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Its ruins occupy an area of nearly three acres, and retain abundant evidence of the beauty as well as the extent of the time-honored structure. It was founded in 1180 by Donough Fitzpatrick, King of Ossory, for Cistercian monks, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its abbot was a peer of Parliament; and among the abbeys of Ireland that of Jerpoint was esteemed, in wealth and architectural grandeur, the fourth in the kingdom. On its suppression by Henry VIII in 1540, it possessed 6,500 acres in demesne land, which, being surrendered by Oliver Grace, the last lord abbot, were granted, together with its other estates, to Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormond.

The picturesque remains of the abbey stand alone in their magnificence. There is no object within sight to distract the attention – nothing to disturb the imagination in recalling them to their former condition of wealth and splendor; to contrast it, after a while, with her fallen estate, as we pass through dilapidated aisles, among broken sculptured sepulchres of its ancient lords, or close-packed graves of the poor peasants of yesterday. We close with the following pathetic lines from a poem on the abbey:

Nor let thy last lord, Jerpoint, be forgot,
   Whoso sorrows teach a lesson man should learn;
But fancy leads me to the very spot
   From whence he parted never to return.
I mark the venerable abbot stand
   Beneath the shadow of his church’s towers,
Grasping the wicket in his trembling hand,
   Reverting to past scenes of happier hours,
And dwelling on the many years gone by
   Since first his young lip breathed his earliest prayer,
To lisp of Him who lives beyond the sky,
   And nurse the hope he might behold Him there.
And now he gazes, ere his steps depart.
   While earthly feelings wake that long had slept;
When, with a look that spoke a breaking heart,
   He turned him from his hallowed home and wept.

MLA Citation

  • “Jerpoint Abbey”. Illustrated Catholic Family Annual, 1880. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 January 2017. Web. 29 October 2020. <>