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Photographer's Note

This is a shot of the front of Bective Abbey, a Cisterican Abbey founded in 1147. It is in the area known as Bective positioned between the towns of Trim and Navan in Co Meath.

When built by Murchad O'Maeil-Sheachlainn it was considered a daughter house to Mellifont Abbey, the first ever Irish Cistercian abbey founded outside Drogheda in 1142.

What we see today does not feature much of the original building, with much reworking carried out after 1274, and further construction in the 1400's.

After Henry VIII ruled for the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530's (an event that would have huge impact all across Ireland), Bective Abbey fell into the possession of Thomas Agard, who transformed the religious building into a sprawling private tudor mansion. By 1540, the roof had been removed for another construction project, and the building was left abandoned.

The Irish State took ownership of the site in 1993, and has since been undertaking maintenance of the building, while keeping if fully open to the public.

The cool thing about this place is that it is completely open, so while the roofs are missing, there are certainly lots of little ancient and tiny rooms and stone staircases to explore. There are also these cloisters on the inner courtyard. Although very little remain, those that do are beautiful, with one featuring finely carved detail of a saint.

Due to the building being a safe haven for the invaders from England in 1228, the Abbey was heavily fortified and the two main towers were constructed. This made Bective Abbey the most heavily fortified abbey in Ireland.

Its hard today to imagine what this would have been like as either a monastery or a private mansion with its tiny barred windows, and military design. The only part which looks to me like a residential building is the upstairs window, here seen in the furthest right part of the building next to the large trer.

It is open to the public all day every day, and recent improvements to the site include the construction of a small car park and newly laid pathways. Its a nice place to explore, although many of the interior rooms are barred shut and off limits because they contain fragments of ancient stonework, which I guess would otherwise be stolen by collectors of such items.

A shot of the interior of the abbey can be seen here

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2577 W: 12 N: 6150] (21508)
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