The Medieval Augustinian Priory of Athassel, near Cashel, Co. Tipperary



The tower of Athassel priory, Co. Tipperary.

On the N74 Cashel to Tipperary road at the town of Golden on the west side of the town a minor road leads south about 1.8km to Athassel Priory. The Priory is visible on the east side of the in a bend of the River Suir.

The Augustinian Priory of St. Edmund at Athassel, Co. Tipperay was the largest priory built in Medieval Ireland and covered over 4 acres. The Priory was founded at the end of the twelfth century by William de Burgo, who had been granted large landholdings in Ireland by prince John including the cantred Muscraighe Breogain in which Athassel is situated. The priory was patronised by the de Burgo family and Walter de Burgo earl of Ulster was buried there in 1271 and Richard de Burgo, earl of Ulster in 1326. A late thirteenth century alter tomb decorated with the figures of four knights, found in the choir of the church and now on display in the Hall of the Vicars Choral at Cashel, was probably the tomb of Walter de Burgo.

The priory consists of a cruciform church on the northern side built between 1230 and 1280. The church has two transepts, a double aisled nave, a choir at the eastern end, a central square tower and a smaller tower at the north-west. Later additions to the church include the east windows that were added in the fifteenth century. The cloister is on the south side of the church and has the sacristy, chapter house and dormitory on the eastern side and the refrectory on the southern side.

The cloister of Athassel priory, Co. Tipperary.

The priory was surrounded by a high wall which has an outer gate way with portcullis and gatehouse with a stone bridge across a small stream. Outside the walls there was once a Medieval town but this was attacked and burnt twice in the fourteenth century and was deserted leaving no visible trace. The monastery was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1541 and the priory lands were granted to Thomas earl of Ormond.


View Athassel, Co. Tipperary in a larger map

GPS coordinates 52.479853,-7.985687

 
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