Figuring out how to get to the ruins of Kilconnell Abbey took us a bit of contemplation and further consultation at the local pub. Between the buildings and through the fields? Through the gardens and by the sheep? That turned out to be the easiest way. A well maintained path took us to the Abbey where we thoroughly examined the seemingly locked gate before realizing we just had to open it!
Located in Kilconnell, a small rural village, in County Galway, the Franciscan Abbey was founded in 1353 by William Bui O'Kelly, Lord of Uí Maine. It was renovated by his grandson, William Mór O'Kelly in the early fifteenth century. William Mór died in 1420 and is buried in the friary. It is a major burial place for the O'Kelly Sept.
Although it lacks a roof (some sources state it was deroofed by Cromwellian soldiers, others that it was abandoned by the Franciscans as vocations fell) it is amazingly intact considering it has been unoccupied for hundreds of years.
As we continue to explore our Kelly heritage, it is exciting to know that is was our ancestors that built some of these wonderful ruins. As I wandered through this and others, I did think that I probably like them best in this "ruin" form. With roofs they would have been dark and cold. Open to the air with sunlight...well daylight anyway.. pouring through they are places of great beauty and wonder.
Read more on the history of Kilconnell
Kilconnell - Monastic Ireland - History, a tour of the site, footprint....wish I had found this site before we visited!
History of Kilcennell Abbey - Schools Collection - dúchas.ie
The Irish Aesthete - Where there is Darkness Light
Ireland in Ruins
Kilconnell - Wikipedia