Bective Abbey

Bective Abbey

Beacons in the dark

View of the decorative stone work at Bective Abbey

The  medieval world of monks and abbeys brings to mind an ascetic life of isolation, prayer and scholarly study. This tells only part of the story. Irish monasteries were often thriving and highly sought out enclaves of cultural creativity, quite literally beacons in the dark, responsible for preserving and passing on precious texts and for the creation of some of the world’s most imaginative and fanciful Christian art.

Bective Abbey was founded in 1147 by Murchadh O' Melaghin, King of Meath, for the Cistercians, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It was an abbey of some importance as the Abbot was a spiritual lord and sat in the Parliament of the Pale. Hugh De Lacy, was buried there in 1195, but was eventually moved to Dublin. The abbey was suppressed in 1536 and the lands were rented to Thomas Asgarde, and eventually bought by Andrew Wyse in 1552. It passed into the hands of the Dillons and then the Boltons, before fallling into ruin. The chief features of the ruins are the combination of both Church and Defence. The Cloister is the best preserved of the buildings and there is a pillar of a figure carrying a crozier. There are also some beautiful arches which are still intact.

Bective Abbey

The substantial remains of Ireland’s second Cistercian monastery founded, in 1147.


All year Admission free


046 943 7111


15 mins from Trim off the R161
(Navan Road)

53.5824741, -6.7028943