St Mochta’s House and St Mary’s Priory, Louth, Ireland

St Mochta’s House is situated right beside St Mary’s Priory so it seems fitting to present both of them here together. According to legend St Mochta’s House was built in the course of a single night to provide shelter for St Mochta, a disciple of St Patrick, who died in 534. However, the current structure is thought to date from the second half of the 12th century. It is rectangular with a barrel vaulted roof over the lower story. Standing beside this is the ruins of St Mary’s Priory, the current structure dates from around the second half of the 14th century though a monastery had existed here for centuries before. The monastery had a unfortunate and bloody history, first being plundered by Vikings in 830 and 839, subsequently by Muircheartach, King of Aileach in 968 and by Gluniallar (Eagle-Knee) O’Flaherty in 978. This misfortune did not end there as the priory was flattened by a storm in 986, and then burned an unbelievable seven times between 1075 and 1166. The priory was repressed during the reformation and in 1535 transferred into the hands of the Church of Ireland, eventually falling into ruin during the battles that followed the rebellion of 1641.

GPS: 53.95319, -6.54418

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