Ballybeg West

13th Century Augustinian Priory

The Priory at Ballybeg was founded in 1229 by Philip de Barry for the Canons Regular of St Augustine. The Canons were priests who lived according to monastic rule. Dedicated to St Thomas the complex is comprised of a long rectangular nave and chancel church with the remains of a cloister on the southside, a superb dovecote, a fortified tower at the west end of the church and standing about 70 metres to the north of the church there is a late medieval tower.

The west wall of the church, which was incorporated into a tower that was added in the 14th/15th century, has two fine lancet windows. There is evidence of a lean-to roof over a cloister walk on the south wall of the church. The west wall of the cloister also survives but not to it's original height. Inside the cloister area I noticed the large block of masonry pictured below right, I presume it is all that remains of a lavabo, a stone basin where monks would wash there hands.

The abbey was dissolved in 1541 but may have been re-established for awhile later. By 1750 the abbey lay in ruins. Some light restoration work was being carried out during my visit, but I was able to wander around most of the buildings.

Situated: From Charleville in Cork, head south on the N20 through Buttevant. About 2 kilometres after Buttevant Ballybeg Abbey is on your left (Signposted).

Discovery Map 73: R 5422 0773. Last visit June 2015.

Longitude: 8° 40' 12" W

Latitude: 52° 13' 11" N

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Photos: Jim Dempsey

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