Monday, 22 January 2018

Clonshanville Abbey (Grose)

From Francis Grose's The Antiquities of Ireland Vol. 2 at 52:


THIS Monastery stands upon the edge of a very extensive bog the country for a great distance round being a flat. In Irish it is named Cluain sean mhil or the retreat of the old Leper. It stands in the Barony of Boyle and seven miles from the Town of that name. A legendary account ascribes the foundation of the Church to St. Patrick, an ideal personage to whom monkish writers resort when they are about to retail fables. It was erected in 1385 by Mac Dermot Roe for Dominicans. The Mac Dermots formerly had large possessions in this and the neighbouring county of Sligo, the representative of which was the late Prince of Coolavin, of whom Young in his Tour in Ireland thus speaks. Another great family in Connaught is Mac Dermot who calls himself Prince of Coolavin, he lives at Coolavin in Sligo and, though he has not above 100l a year, he will not admit his children to sit down in his presence. This was certainly the case with his father and some assured me even with the present Chief, Lord Kingsborough, Mr Ponsonby, Mr O'Hara, Mr Sandford &c. came to see him and his address was curious: "O Hara you are welcome; Sandford, I am glad to see your mother's son (his mother was an O'Brien) as to the rest of ye come in as you can."

The eastern window is entire, the Tower sixty feet high standing upon an arch and has offsets. There are no remains of cloysters. Near the Belfry is a vault the cemetery of the Frenches of French park, on the eastern wall of this vault are their arms and this inscription:

Pray for the Souls 
Of Patrick French Fitz Stephen of Galway
Burgess, who lived in this world eighty six years. 

This Monastery was granted by the Crown to William Taafe, who afterwards sold it to Lord Dillon.

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