Bective Abbey

Bective Abbey

The abbey at Bective was founded in 1147, though much of the remaining ruins date from the 15th century. The abbey sits overlooking the River Boyne, just 15 minutes from Navan in County Meath.

Bective Abbey was Ireland's second Cistercian abbey, established after the success of nearby Mellifont. It was one of the country's most important monastic settlements, as its abbot sat in the Parliament of the Pale. Additionally, Hugh De Lacy was buried there before being moved to Dublin.

The abbey closed after its suppression under Henry VIII and was made into a manor house handed over to civil servants in reward for their loyal work.

Due to its castle-like qualities, the site was also chosen as a location for the 1995 film 'Braveheart'.

Bective Abbey was founded in 1147 for the Cistercian Order by Murchad O'Maeil- Sheachlainn, King of Meath. It was Ireland's second Cistercian Abbey; a ‘daughter house' to nearby Mellifont. Bective became an important monastic settlement, but was suppressed following the dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII in1543. The lands were then rented, and the monastery began to be used as a fortified house. The tower was constructed at this time, granting the structure an imposing appearance. The remains now visible at the Abbey date mainly from the 13th to 15th centuries. They include the church, chapter house and cloister. The cloister ruins are particularly Well-preserved and feature pointed, gothic arches typical of Cistercian architecture.

The Order had been founded to recapture the original simplicity of monastic life; this was reflected in their restrained buildings.

The cloister - a covered passageway which opened onto and surrounded an enclosed courtyard - was an essential element, separating the world of the monks from that of ordinary people. Today, the ruins provide a maze of passageways with dead ends and interrupted staircases, all asking to be explored.

Listen to some wonderful audio on Bective Abbey - part of the Boyne Valley Drive:

Bective Abbey
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