A monastery was founded by St Laiseran before 640 on the site of the present ruins of the medieval Old Priory at the junction of High Street, Victoria Road and the Old Bangor Road in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland.
7th century: Laiseran (later saint) son of Nasca, a local princess, studied at Bangor under St. Comgall and after a time near Cork, returned to found the first church and monastery. There is some uncertainty whether the site was at the current priory ruins or near the motte by Brooke Street.
10th century: the Vikings ravage the area in 956
12th century: an Anglo-Norman Augustinian abbey built by Thomas Whyte; current ruins largely date from this time
19th century: the tower dates from 1806 when this was the site of Holywood’s Parish Church
The adjacent graveyard accommodates:
- educational reformer, Dr Robert Sullivan
- members of the Praeger family
- the Dunville family (of whiskey fame)
- mathematician Sir Joseph Larmor