Bridgetown Abbey, situated at the meeting point of the Awbeg and Blackwater Rivers in Cork, is certainly one of the most beautiful and well preserved 13th century Priories that I have come across. What makes this ruin exceptional is the large amount of domestic buildings which would’ve housed up to three hundred monks during its peak. The lands at Bridgetown Abbey were given to the Augustinians by Alexander FitzHugh Roche and was built between 1206 and 1216. The buildings are organised in a quadrangle, and to this day a cloister, kitchen, refectory, chapter house and church still stand. There are some unusual monuments standing within the priory, the tomb of the Roache family near the altar is incredibly innate with beautiful stonework, amongst other carvings is an inverted family shield (to indicate the tomb of the departed) and a fish that was the emblem of the Roache family. The priory fell into ruin in the first half of the 16th century and was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. The lands were given to a soldier named Roger Pope but eventually surrendered to Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy in 1576. Extensive conservation work seems to be ongoing at Bridgetown Priory, long may it continue, such a beautiful and peaceful place deserves to be preserved.
GPS: 52.14952, -8.45013