“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 was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert in 1193. (source: Wikipedia)
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)
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)
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)
Buried here: Patrick Barrett – Augustinian Canon at Kells Priory in County Kilkenny until appointed Bishop of Ferns on 10 December 1400. (source: Wikipedia)
To locate Kells Priory on the map, enter these Latitude/Longitude coordinates in your GPS device – Latitude 52.539771, Longitude -7.273314.