Selskar Abbey

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Selskar Abbey is a ruined twelfth-century abbey in the town of Wexford, Ireland. It was an Augustinian House, whose proper name was the Priory of St. Peter and St. Paul. Selskar Abbey is well known for its castles and it’s lovely scenery. It goes back many years to the Vikings times . This is where Wexford gots it name from !!!!!!


First church on site[edit]

There was an earlier church on the site: it was here in 1169 that Diarmait Mac Murchada signed the first Anglo-Irish peace treaty.[1] The leading Norman commander Raymond FitzGerald, (nicknamed Le Gros ) and his wife Basila de Clare, sister of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, (nicknamed Strongbow), are said to have been married at Selskar in 1174.

There is a long-standing tradition that Henry II spent Lent of 1172 at Selskar Abbey, where he did penance for the murder of Thomas Becket. It is unclear how much truth there is in the story, although it is true that Henry was in Ireland at the time, and that Becket's murder, some fifteen months earlier, was still a subject of great controversy, so that Henry might well have felt this an appropriate gesture to make.

Second foundation[edit]

The surviving ruins are of the abbey which was founded about 1190 by Alexander de la Roche, ancestor of the Roche family who hold the title Baron Fermoy.[2]

We have a glimpse of life in the abbey through a letter which John Topcliffe, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland addressed to Henry VIII in about 1512. He complained that the monks who "time out of mind" had chosen their own Prior, had elected a "good blessed religious man" as Prior but that the Abbot had turned him out.[3] It is unclear why the Chief Justice, who was an Englishman without any obvious local ties in Wexford town, was so concerned about the affair, nor why he thought the King would be interested. The King's reply, if any, is not recorded.

Suppression and later history[edit]

The Abbey was suppressed in 1542 and given to John Parker, the Master of the Rolls in Ireland.[4] It later passed to the Stafford family. The Abbey was reportedly sacked by Oliver Cromwell's troops in 1649.[5]


Selskar Abbey is now part of the Westgate Heritage Tower; it reopened to the public in July 2012.[6]

Selskar Abbey


  1. ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal
  2. ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal 1862 Vol. 1 No. 22
  3. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 pp. 212-3
  4. ^ Ball, p.205
  5. ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal
  6. ^ Wexford People 11 July 2012

External links[edit]

Selskar Abbey History

Coordinates: 52°20′29″N 6°27′55″W / 52.3414°N 6.4654°W / 52.3414; -6.4654