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Hore Abbey, the Order of Saint Benedict in Co. Tipperary.

When we talked about the fortress of the great kings of Munster, the Rock of Cashel, we forgot to tell you about an interesting place located nearby. The place we just mentioned is where the remains of Hore Abbey can be found. This abbey has two featrures.

The first feature is architectural. It is represented by a Gothic style of architecture, which was just beginning to be introduced to Ireland by the Normans. Considering that the monastery was built in the first half of the XIII century and that it was very large for its time, we can begin to understand the importance of this building.

Hore Abbey

Even nowadays, when the Hore monastery is half-destroyed, you can clearly see the remains of the half-destroyed church crossing with adjacent chapel, where the altar was located. In the XV century, a bell tower was built in the centre of the church, which served as a protective feature. The ceiling of the church was built in the form of vaulted arches, which clearly demonstrate the Gothic style of this building.

In the same century, the church, for unknown reasons, was reduced in size and in the XVI century, in 1561, by the order of Queen Elizabeth, the monastery was handed over to Sir Henry Ratcliffe.

The monastery suffered a fairly inglorious fate in the Middle Ages which we will now talk about. Hore Abbey was founded by the Order of St. Benedict. Here’s a little bit of history about the Order.

The Order of St. Benedict is one of the Catholic monastic orders that had a very strong influence on the development of monasticism in Western Europe. It’s sufficient to say that for several centuries all of the monasteries in Western Europe lived by the rules of this order and had the independence that was proclaimed by St. Benedict of Nursia.

In addition to making monasteries independent and spending a lot of time on prayer, the main job of the Order of St. Benedict was spreading goodness. As a rule, monasteries took in children from noble families and gave them an education, the story of St. Kevin is a good example.

Later on, this led to the establishment of monasteries that were used as a form of medieval education. A very good example of this is the monastic town of Glendalough, which we have already told you about.

Continuing our story about the Order of St. Benedict, we’ll note that the fate of the members of the order in Hore Abbey was pitiful. Exactly six years after the construction of the abbey in 1266, the monks of the order fell out of favour with the Archbishop David Mc Carvill.

The Archbishop himself belonged to the Order of Cistercians and was prepared for conflict with the Benedictine Order. He decided to deal with them in 1269, when in a dream, he saw a Benedictine try to kill him.

We will never be able to know for sure if he had such a dream. Actually, it practically doesn’t matter. The bishop managed to deprive the Order of St. Benedict of Hore Abbey in favour of the Cistercian monastery Mellifont, in Co. Louth. By the way, the remains of the Mellifont monastery have survived to this day.

This reminds us of a saying in Russia ‘the strong always has the weak to blame.’ This saying applies not only to Irish monasteries but also the history of Ireland, which you can read on this site.

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