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Fore Abbey, County Westmeath

4.8
#8 of 52 in Things to do in County Westmeath
Historic Site Landmark
Fore Abbey is the old Benedictine Abbey ruin, situated to the north of Lough Lene in County Westmeath, just 25km outside its county town of Mullingar.Fore village, (sister parish of nearby St. Mary's Collinstown) is situated within a valley between two hills: the Hill of Ben, the Hill of Houndslow, and the Anchorland rise area. There can be found the ruins of a Christian monastery, which had been populated at one time by French Benedictine monks from Évreux, Normandy. Fore, Fobhar is the anglicised version of the Irish name that signifies “the town of the water-springs” and was given to the area after Saint Feichin’s spring or well, which is next to the old church a short distance from where the ruined monastery still stands. It was St. Feichin who founded the ancient Fore Abbey around 630. By 665 (the time of the yellow plague) there were 300 monks living in the community.A Benedictine PrioryIn the 13th century Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath the Norman and landlord built a Bendictine priory in the valley nearby. Many of the buildings that remain today (in ruins) are from the 15th century and have been restored throughout this century, making Fore Abbey the largest group of 300 Benedictine to have sojourned and remained in Ireland. This priory was dedicated to both St Feichin and St Taurin, the Évreux, Normandy abbot of the parent monastery. Its 13th century church still has some decorations and graceful arcaded cloisters. Attached to the church are the broken walls of two towers, where the monks once lived. Between 771 and 1169 Fore Abbey was burnt 12 times by pillaging invaders, such as the Turgesius led Vikings.
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4.8
  • Spent an hour here with my 8 yr old daughter, we both loved it something mystical about it don't forget to place a coin in the tree :)  more »
  • There is easy parking right off the road. Great place to leave the car and walk around. There are signs describing the "7 wonders". The ruins are interesting to walk and climb around. If you have time...  more »
  • Love this place. So beautiful and serene and steeped in history. Lovely walk from the roadside car park up the Hill of Fore for lovely views of the valley below. The monastery is gorgeous too and very...  more »
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  • We love it here. Go there regularly with the kids and dogs. There is a lovely walk there too. Shame some people let there dogs poop and don't pick it up even on the path though it's bad on the grass too especially as a lot of families go here with young children. I have two dogs and always pick up after them. It's really not hard. No poo bin but there is a normal bin and a nice few picnic benches. Kids love it. Lovely area for photos
  • Fantastic, family day out.... Easily pass the whole day there, exploring the Abbey and grounds, with a beautiful 3k walk which brings you back to the visitors centre and beautiful coffee shop which is so well run with friendly staff. Climb up to the church and check out the views. It is just excellent and FREE. Fore Abbey is a credit to all who keep it looking so good and is very clean.
  • Great views and the Fore Valley is chock full of history. Coffee shop and toilets nearby. Parking is plentiful. Never too busy.
  • Lovely spot to spend a few hours roaming around the ruins or following the walk complete with fairy village. Don't forget to check out the 7 wonders!
  • Gorgeous old monastery site which the best small cafe in the village. Would highly recommend for a free outdoorsy day.