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Inch Abbey, Downpatrick

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Religious Site Historic Site
Inch Abbey is a large, ruined monastic site 0.75 miles north-west of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, on the north bank of the River Quoile in a hollow between two drumlins and featuring early Gothic architecture. The site is mostly in State Care and is at grid ref: J477455, off the main road to Belfast.Pre-Norman siteThe site was originally on an island in the Quoile Marshes. The pre-Norman Celtic monastic settlement here, known as Inis Cumhscraigh, was in existence by the year 800. In 1002 it was plundered by the Vikings led by Sitric, King of the Danes, who came up the Quoile with a fleet from the sea. The Vikings plundered the settlement again in 1149. Its large earthwork enclosure has been traced from aerial photographs. On the ground, the early bank and ditch can be followed along the line of trees on the eastern boundary of the site, and partly along the western boundary. The buildings of the early monastery would have been made of timber.Norman EstablishmentInch Abbey was established as a Cistercian house by John de Courcy and his wife Affrica. Inch, or Iniscourcy, was erected as an act of repentance for the destruction of the Abbey at Erinagh (or Erenagh) (3 miles (4.8 km) to the south) by de Courcy in 1177. It was colonised directly by monks from Furness Abbey in Lancashire in 1180, along with some of the monks from Erinagh. The Cistercian monastery was located near to the river in the southern area of the Early Christian earthwork enclosure.
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4.6
  • We went on a rainy day so we had the whole place to ourselves, apart from one other couple. It was interesting to see the ruins and to see what their interpretation of what it may have looked like at ...  more »
  • Went here on these Winterfell experience with Will, such a magical location. Just beautiful, unspoilt, green and ancient  more »
  • My wife and I visited Inch Abbey to stage our wedding photos amongst the ruins. The grounds are well maintained, with informative panels dotted around the site giving the history of the abbey and monk...  more »
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  • Beautiful Abbey ruins. Well maintained grounds, free parking, and nice walking path. Was a good stop on my trip of Ireland ruins. Wish I had mate time to spend there the day we stopped, would have enjoyed a longer walk around the grounds. Worth a stop.
  • Fantastic day while on the Game of Thrones tour! Never knew about Inch Abbey and its history until now. Great spot for a bit of role play in Winterfell type gear 😁
  • A rainy day when we arrived, which was a shame as we had to rush our visit somewhat. I would have liked more time to soak up the atmosphere. Bonus being there were few people visiting at this time of year in Feb so had the place pretty much to ourselves, which is quite an idyllic spot. The crows cawing flying around from an old tree next to the abbey, that was covered in ivy was a nice touch.
  • Just got there during sunset and no other tourists around. A well kept monument and free entrance and parking.
  • Visited Inch Abbey as part of a Game of Thrones tour. We were able to see where scenes from season 1 were filmed. The structure and grounds have been well maintained. It's a short walk up a gravel path, so it may not be the best excursion for those who are unsteady on their feet.