Quin Abbey

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Quin Abbey
Mainistir Cuinche
Quin Abbey, Ireland.jpg
Quin Abbey
Quin Abbey is located in Ireland
Quin Abbey
Location within Ireland
Monastery information
Other namesQuin Friary
Establishedc. 1350 (church),
1433 (abbey)
Founder(s)MacNamara family
Heritage designationNational Monument
Completion date1433
LocationQuin, County Clare, Ireland
Coordinates52°49′9.43″N 8°51′46.87″W / 52.8192861°N 8.8630194°W / 52.8192861; -8.8630194Coordinates: 52°49′9.43″N 8°51′46.87″W / 52.8192861°N 8.8630194°W / 52.8192861; -8.8630194
Public accessyes (strict opening hours)
Official nameQuin Abbey
Reference no.15
The cloisters at Quin Abbey

Quin Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Chuinche[1]), in Quin, County Clare, Ireland, was built between 1402 and 1433 by Sioda Cam MacNamara, for Fathers Purcell and Mooney, friars of the Franciscan order. Although mostly roofless, the structure of the abbey is relatively well preserved. There is an intact cloister, and many other surviving architectural features make the friary of significant historical value.[2]

A far earlier monastery had existed on the site but burned down in 1278. A Norman castle was built soon after by Thomas de Clare, a military commander.[3] The foundations of the castle's enormous corner towers can still be seen. Around 1350 the castle, by then a ruin, was rebuilt as a church by the McNamara clan. The abbey was rebuilt using the south curtain-wall of the old castle. It was this structure which the MacNamaras subsequently rebuilt as the present abbey, properly called a friary. In 1541, during the Reformation, King Henry VIII confiscated the friary and it passed into the hands of Conor O'Brian, Earl of Thomond. In about 1590 the MacNamaras regained control of the site and once again set about repairing and restoring it. In about 1640 the building became a college and is alleged to have had 800 students. Oliver Cromwell arrived only 10 years later, brutally murdering the friars and destroying the friary. In 1671 the building was once again restored, but never regained its former status. Eventually in 1760 the friars were expelled, although the last Friar, John Hogan, remained there until his death in 1820, by which time the buildings were ruined by neglect.[4]

A visitor centre is located near the building and the structure and grounds can be visited free of charge. A caretaker is permanently based at the monument. Floodlighting has recently been installed. The graveyard surrounding the friary is still in use.

The abbey is roughly 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Ennis.


  1. ^ "Cuinche". logainm.ie. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  2. ^ 75th Annual Report of the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland; Clonmacnois, King's County. Dublin: A. Thom & Co, 1906
  3. ^ Brian Hodkinson, Was Quin Castle Completed?, North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Vol. 44, 2004, pp.53-8
  4. ^ C. P. Meehan, The Rise & Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries; James Duffy & Sons, Dublin 1877.

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