Grey Abbey, Portaferry

4.7
#13 of 28 in Historic Sites in County Down
Grey Abbey is a ruined Cistercian priory in the village of Greyabbey, County Down, Northern Ireland, currently maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It is a monument in state care in the townland of Rosemount, beside the Rosemount estate, on the eastern edge of the village of Greyabbey in the Borough of Ards, at grid ref: J5829 6810.HistoryGrey Abbey was founded in 1193, by John de Courcy's wife, Affreca (daughter of Godred Olafsson, King of the Isles), as a daughter house of Holmcultram Abbey in Cumbria. It had declined by the late Middle Ages and was dissolved in 1541. It was burnt out by Brian O'Neill in 1572. It was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery who re-roofed the abbey in 1626 and refurbished it for use as a parish church. It was used until 1778.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
30 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • August 10, 2017
    We stopped here on our bus tour after leaving Belfast. This was an outstanding place to visit and walk around. The old abbey and site is impressive !! The graveyard is one of those sites that is more ...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    We stopped here for lunch at the Wildfowler on way to Portaferry. We had a lovely time browsing in the antique shops and antique laneway. We also found a nice little gift shop at 'No:14', which stocks...  more »
  • June 30, 2017
    If you love old buildings this is impressive. A very old monastic building dating from the early part of the first century. The graveyard is my favourite. Graves from the late 1600s. This was the plac...  more »
Google
  • Nice to visit..loads of history, free in. It's an old ruin, could take 20 mins to explore if your not taking your time..no facilities on site. There is a public toilet 2min walk away , back into the town , turn left onto the Main Street and left again. If passing. Stop! A little hidden, its at the base of a current churches ground.
  • A gorgeous site and genuinely a hidden gem, well worth visiting with exquisite ruins. The abbey was founded as a Cistercian abbey/monastery located on the north side of the village, dating from 1193. Historically it was also called Monesterlee or Monesterlea, which are anglicisations of its Irish name Mainistir Liath (grey abbey/monastery). 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. There is a small visitor centre but opening times can be erratic.
  • This historic ruin is so beautiful and tucked away behind a church you'd miss it very easily. It's well worth a visit, there are picnic areas so go prepared and spend some lovely time there
  • Beautiful location, buildings and gardens - cant wait to go again!
  • Superb place to visit. Really helpful information centre. Actually, quite a moving place to spend time in when you reflect on its history. Well worth a visit!

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