Inishlounaght/ St Patrick's C of I.

Site of a Cistercian Abbey

Inishlounaght Abbey was founded in 1148 as a daughter house to the great Cistercian abbey at Mellifont in County Louth. The name is translated from the Irish; Mainistir Inis Leamhnachta -meaning The Island of Fresh Milk. Corcomroe in County Clare, was a d\ughter house of Inislounaght. The abbey was situated just over two kilometres west of Clonmel, in irish Cluain Meala, meaning "honey meadow". So we can say I was standing in the land of milk and honey. The abbey had fallen into disrepair and was dissolved around 1540. Some of the abbey walls were reported to be still standing in 1746. No walls remain today, but a number of fragments and interesting artifacts are scattered around the old graveyard at St Patrick's, Church of Ireland Church.

I had known about the existence of the medieval graveslab pictured below, for quite awhile, but only learnt about the other fragments recently on Dr Louise Nugent's excellent blog Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland. It's a shame the church was closed during my visit as a four ordered romanesque doorway from the abbey is inserted into the interior west wall of the church, see the image of the information board at the bottom of the page. Another medieval graveslab is embedded in the floor at the west door. The late 16th/early 17th century graveslab pictured below is inserted into the wall graveyard wall on the southside of the church. It bears a cross with a seven armed head, each arm has fleur-de-lys terminals. An latin inscription on the left side of the shaft, translated by Maher (1997, 66-67) reads, (Here lies Pius, noble husband?).

At the end end of the graveyard , to the rear of the church, is a portion of a panel belonging to a 16th century Chest-tomb. It was really difficult to find this panel as it was overgrown with vicious brambles. I managed to clear some of them away. I believe the panel bears three tomb weepers, only two can be seen in the image below. The figure on the left is obviously St Peter as he is carrying a key, the figure on the right is carrying a staff or spear? There is also a carved head belonging to an effigial tomb located near this panel, but I was unable to locate it during my short visit. The small graveslab below left is situated on the left had side of the narrow path that leads to the large graveslab pictured above. Several fragments from the abbey are also scattered around the graveyard.

13/14th century cross slab


Situated: From St Patrick's Well at Marlfield head south. Cross over two crossroads, second one is slightly askew. The church is set back on your left, look for an archway.

Discovery Map 74: S 1754 2152. Last visit Sept 2020.

Longitude: 7° 44' 33" W. 

Latitude: 52° 20' 43" N.

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Information board