Dungarvan

Augustinian Abbey

The abbey is situated in Abbeyside townland, on the east side of he estuary in Dungargan. From here you can see Dungarvan Castle on the west bank. Their is a multi-period structure. The Abbey was founded in the late 13th century by Thomas Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald for Augustinian monks from Clare Priory in Suffolk, England. The ruined chancel is all that remains from that period. The three windows in the south wall and the large window in the east wall are all robbed out. There are no signs of tracery. The four storey crossing tower was added in the 15th century, probably by the McGraths , who held a castle on abbeyside at that time. The modern church, St Augustines, was built in 1820 on the site of the old north transept.

At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in 1541 the abbey was in use as a parish church and was in ruins by 1654. A limestone graveslab lies below the arched entrance on the northside of the chancel. The 15th century slab commemorates Donald McGrath. Restoration work was being carried out at St Augustines during my visit, I missed a plaque bearing the abbeys coat of arms, which is inserted into the west wall of the modern church, and a stone head on the same wall that may also belong to the earlier church. The McGraths and the O'Brien's of Comeragh were the two main families in Waterford before the arrival of Cromwell. There is a beautifully carved, 16th century, McGrath chest tomb in the nave of St Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore.

Situated: Heading west on the N25 take the first exit at the Coolagh roundabout. Go straight through the next roundabout. Go 750 metres down Sarsfield Road. The abbey is on your right.

Discovery Map 82. X 2669 9294. Last visit Sept 2019.

Longitude: 7° 36' 38" W

Latitude: 52° 5' 16" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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