Saints and Stones: Grey Abbey (Mainistir Liath)

Grey Abbey is a ruined Cistercian priory in County Down, Northern Ireland. The site of the abbey was on the Ards Peninsula, seven miles from Newtownards, at the confluence of a small river and Strangford Lough.

Affreca, daughter of the King of Man and wife of John de Courcy, Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster, founded the abbey in 1193. The Abbey was colonised by Cistercian monks from Cumbria. The construction of the stone church began almost immediately. Architecturally, it is important as the first fully gothic style building in Ulster. It is the first fully stone church in which every window arch and door was pointed rather than round headed.

The remains consist of a church with cloister and surrounding buildings to the south. Entry is through an elaborate west door, into an aisleless nave, transepts with two chapels in each and a short chancel with tall lancet windows. The buildings around the cloister include an aisled chapter house and a refectory with reader's pulpit, although the west range and cloister walks have disappeared. Three buttresses on the south wall of the nave are part of a conservation programme carried out early in the 20th century.

About Grey Abbey (Mainistir Liath)

Discover Northern Ireland: Grey Abbey
Wikipedia: Grey Abbey
Wikipedia: Cistercians

Journey to Grey Abbey (Mainistir Liath)

Grey Abbey is located off the A20 on the Ards Peninsula in the townland of Rosemount, north of the village of Greyabbey in County Down in Northern Ireland.

Map Reference: J5868

Visitors Information

Visitors information for Grey Abbey may be found at the website. General tourist information may be found at the Discover Northern Ireland: County Down website.

Additional Photos of Grey Abbey (Mainistir Liath)

Grey Abbey Sign
Grey Abbey from the Graveyard
Front of Grey Abbey
West Door Entrance, Grey Abbey
Close-Up of West Door Entrance, Grey Abbey
Chancel/Presbytery Sign, Grey Abbey
Nave and Chancel/Presbytery, Grey Abbey
Exterior of East Wall of Chancel/Presbytery, Grey Abbey
Wall Sculpture in Chancel/Presbytery, Grey Abbey
Modern Buttresses, Grey Abbey
View of South Wall, Grey Abbey
Chapter House Sign, Grey Abbey
Remains of Chapter House, Grey Abbey
Steps, Grey Abbey
Refectory Sign, Grey Abbey
Refectory Ruins, Grey Abbey

Top of Page