Mellifont Abbey, Louth, Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Mellifont was the first Cistercian Monastery in Ireland and was founded in 1142 by Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh. By the mid-12th century monastic life in Ireland, as in the rest of Europe, had become less austere and very corrupt. In 1140 while on his way to Rome Malachy stopped at Clairvaux in France and was so impressed by the more rigid and severe lifestyle of the Cistercian order. Malachy invited them to Ireland to set up the monastery at Mellifont to try and reform the prevailing debauchery of the other religious orders.

Mellifont and the Cistercian order grew in prominence over the next century becoming the parent of over 35 other monasteries in Ireland. Mellifont itself was home to as many as 400 monks and in 1152 hosted the Synod of Drogheda which was attended by bishops and kings. The Irish monks at Mellifont quickly fell out with their…

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