Standing strong among the emerald green fields, Jerpoint Abbey has defied time and the reformists to remain one of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in Ireland.
Situated just outside of Thomastown, a cute-as-a-button mill town outside Kilkenny, Jerpoint is a pleasant surprise – especially as the other places we wanted to experience around the town are closed for the winter season. A modern information center offers a brief history of the region’s many abbeys and church ruins (and clean toilets) and will take payment of the entry fee.
Entering the church yard there is a mix of ancient gravestones and ones dating back to the 19th century. Neighboring fields are separated by stone walls and a farm is built close by. Entering the main church, what’s immediately clear is just how well-maintained the abbey is.
A former chapel is sealed against the weather and houses individual carvings. This section is completely covered, with renovated stairs offering access to a flat roof area overlooking the arcades of the cloister. Restorations have returned the cloister to an almost fully formed relic, rather than the ruins generally seen with Irish Cistercian churches.
What stands out most at Jerpoint is the cloisters, which are remarkably well-preserved. The Cistercian church has undergone many eras of change since it was first built in the mid-1100s. The arcades are sculptured with saints and coats of arms.
The tower and cloister date from the 15th century and you can clearly see the markings of the earlier structure on which the embattled tower was built. Inside, you’ll find intricately carved tombs of earlier bishops and monks like Felix O’Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory.
The site has been under the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880 and has since undergone a range of restoration projects to maintain it for future generations.
Jerpoint Abbey is a 12th Century Cistercian abbey built just across from the Nore River.
2.5km south west from Thomastown on the N9.
Contact Bus Eireann, Travel Centre +353 (1) 836 6111
Early March – Late September: Daily 09.00 – 17.30
October Daily: 09.00 – 17.00
01 November – 28 November: Daily 09.30- 16.00
December – March: Pre-booked tours only. Closed Weekends.
Closed for the Christmas period.
Tel. No: +353 (56) 772 4623Follow & Connect with us