Wednesday 22 April 2015

Ecclesiastic ruins

The days are still gorgeous here at home, but I am so glad they were amazing while on Easter break, and especially for the little sojourn down to Waterford and surrounding area. On the leisurely way back home, the first stop was Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny. This was a ruin I had seen pictures of and was meaning to visit for a long time, but never found the opportunity. It was originally founded for the Benedictine order in 1158 AD but became a Cistercian abbey by 1180 AD.

It is a well-kept OPW site with information displays in the small visitor centre and an additional museum style room containing items that were found on site and further didactics.

The colonnaded cloister area was beautifully decorated with carvings on all window columns.

One of the didactics claimed that it was against their order for the Cistercian monks to live in highly decorated surrounds. As there were carvings everywhere and evidential remnants of frescoes on the walls, the monks here must have been a rebellious lot!

Continuing along the road home, we were going through the town of Gowran (also in Kilkenny) and happened upon this ecclesiastic ruin, so stopped to take a look at St. Mary's Church, originally built around 1275 AD.

My monuments book talks about how the decoration here contrasts to Cistercian building, but as I said above, Jerpoint Abbey was quite decorated, and certainly would have been anything but austere in its heyday!

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