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Cistercian Abbeys: ABBEYDORNEY

Name: Location: nr Abbeydorney village County: Kerry
Foundation: 1154 Mother house: Monasteranenagh
Relocation: None Founder: Unknown
Dissolution: 1537 Prominent members:
Access: Accessible to the public

Abbeydorney, also known as Odorney or Kyrie Eleison, was founded in 1154 with monks from Monasteranenagh. No reliable financial figures relating to the abbey survive although the house is not likely to have been prosperous. Christian O’Conarchy, the first abbot of Mellifont Abbey, retired to the abbey in later life, where he died and was buried in 1186. In 1227 the abbot of Abbeydorney was deposed for his involvement in the ‘conspiracy of Mellifont’ (1216-28). In 1450 and again after 1460, the abbot of Abbeydorney complained to the pope about unjust subjugation and unlawful payments enforced by James de Geraldinis, Earl of Desmond, and others. In 1453 the abbot was accused of misrule by a monk of Monasteranenagh. Following the Dissolution, Edmund, lord Kerry, was granted Abbeydorney, and other monasteries, and was created Baron of Odorney and Viscount of Kilmaule. However, the changes imposed by the Dissolution had little immediate impact on Abbeydorney. Although the monastic land became secularised, the monks themselves were not dispersed. In fact the abbot of Abbeydorney remained active for forty years after the initial closures took place and was stopped only in 1577 when he was shot at Lixnaw Castle. The site of the monastery is now used as a graveyard. For centuries it has been customary for local families to bury their dead within the confines of a medieval abbey or friary: Abbeydorney is a notorious example. The remains of the old cloister garth are weighted down with relatively modern tombs and monuments. The chief remnant of the monastery is the abbey church with a projecting western tower, all of which dates from the fifteenth century.