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Kells Priory, County Kilkenny – photos and facts

“Kells Priory is one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland.
The Augustine priory is situated alongside King’s River beside the village of Kells, about 15 km south of the medieval city of Kilkenny. The priory is a National Monument and is in the guardianship of the Office of Public Works. One of its most striking feature is a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls which enclose a site of just over 3 acres (12,000 m2). These give the priory the appearance more of a fortress than of a place of worship and from them comes its local name of “Seven Castles”.” (excerpt from wikipedia)

I spent a weekend in Kilkenny a number of years ago, and was lucky enough to be able to have a wander around the grounds of Kells Priory for an hour or so. It’s a remarkable place, as I am sure you will be able to tell by the photos and facts below.

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Kells Priory was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert in 1193. (source: Wikipedia)

Kells Priory Kilkenny

During its first century and a half the priory was attacked and burned on three occasions, firstly by Lord William de Bermingham in 1252, by the Scots army of Edward Bruce on Palm Sunday 1326, and by a second William de Bermingham in 1327. (source: Wikipedia)

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Dissolution of Kells Priory finally took place in March 1540 and the church and property were surrendered to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde. (source: Wikipedia)

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Tom Fanning, a state archaeologist and subsequently senior archaeology lecturer in NUI Galway began an excavation of the site in 1972, his work was completed by Miriam Clyne after Mr. Fanning’s death in 1993. There were some 20,000 archaeological finds which range from pieces of carved stone, pottery including Ham Green, floor and ridge tiles, metal objects as well as a collection of painted window glass. (source: Wikipedia)

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Buried here: Patrick Barrett – Augustinian Canon at Kells Priory in County Kilkenny until appointed Bishop of Ferns on 10 December 1400. (source: Wikipedia)

Kells Priory Kilkenny

To locate Kells Priory on the map, enter these Latitude/Longitude coordinates in your GPS device – Latitude 52.539771, Longitude -7.273314.

Kells Priory Kilkenny

Kells Priory Kilkenny

5 comments

  1. We spent quite a bit of time at Kells a few years ago. It is one of my favorite places in Ireland. About a year ago I saw that Hutchenson’s Mill, just across the river, was for sale. If only I were independently wealthy!

  2. My late Mother ans family lived at Kells Priory in the 1920`s. She went to school with Lily Hutchinson who`s parents owned the Mill. I visited a few years ago and it was beautiful there.

    Helen Black