Red Abbey, Cork

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Red Abbey Tower
"Pacata Hibernica" map of Cork (~1600) with a representation of the abbey in the lower left corner.[1]

The Red Abbey in Cork, Ireland was a 14th-century Augustinian abbey which took its name from the reddish sandstone used in construction. Today all that remains of the structure is the central bell tower of the abbey church, which is one of the last remaining visible structures dating to the medieval walled town of Cork.[2]


In late 13th or early 14th century, an Augustinian monastery was built in Cork,[3] and was occupied by the friars until at least the rebellion of 1641, and possibly as late as 1700.[2]

The abbey tower was used by John Churchill (later the Duke of Marlborough) as a vantage point and battery during the Siege of Cork in 1690.[4] The siege sought to suppress an uprising in the city and its association with the expelled Catholic King of England, James II.

In the eighteenth century, the Augustinian friars established a new friary in Fishamble Lane, and the Red Abbey was turned over to use as a sugar refinery. However, a fire in the refinery destroyed much of the abbey's structure in 1799.

All that remains today of the structure is the bell tower of the abbey's church. The tower is designated as a national monument[5] and maintained by Cork City Council.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pacata Hibernia map, 1585-1600. Abbey is marked as "St. Austins"". Cork Past & Present. Cork City Library.
  2. ^ a b "Red Abbey". Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Red Abbey Street". Cork Past & Present. Cork City Library. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Cork City 1645 to 1700". History of Cork. Cork City Council. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ Peter Harbison (1970). Guide to the National Monuments of Ireland. Dublin.

Coordinates: 51°53′38″N 8°28′20″W / 51.89401°N 8.47234°W / 51.89401; -8.47234