The first Cistercian monastery in Ireland founded in 1142 by St Malachy of Armagh, its most unusual feature is the octagonal Lavabo c. 1200. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages with fine examples of their craft on display. Access to site by stone stairway. The site is now fully accessible.
The abbey imported it's formal style of architecture from the abbeys of the same order in Europe.The abbey was consecrated in 1157 and from this humble beginnings the Cistercian community spread out throughout Ireland founding other abbeys throughout the country with Mellifont being the model on which these abbeys were based. The most significant remains of Mellifont Abbey is the chapter house, the Lavabo where the monks would have washed their hands before meals and the impressive Gateway. The other parts of the Abbey are gone but small walls remain making it possible to make out how the Abbey would have looked.
A visitors centre was recently opened at the Abbey in the building used for Ireland`s first Youth Hostel. The centre contains some of the carvings found during excavations of the site. Guided tours are also available fin the summer months.
Did you know? By 1170, Mellifont had one hundred monks and three hundred lay brothers. The Abbey became the model for other Cistercian abbeys. It was the main abbey in Ireland until it was closed in 1539, when it became a fortified house.
Listen to some wonderful audio on Old Mellifont Abbey - part of the Boyne Valley Drive:
Devorgilla (often described as ‘Ireland’s Helen of Troy’), whose elopement with Dermot MacMurrough led to the arrival of the Anglo Normals in 1169 is buried beneath the chancel pavement at Mellifont.
See website and social media for up-to-date information
Bus Route(s): Contact Bus Eireann, Travel Centre +353 1 836 6111
Recommended Clothing: Visitors are advised to wear suitable footwear due to uneven terrain.
Guided Tours Available: On request, maximum number is thirty five to forty. Duration is forty minsutes. Leaflet / guide booklet in English, Irish, French, German, Italian and Spanish
The site of Old Mellifont Abbey is now FULLY accessible.
Disabled Access: Access for people with disabilities to the visitor centre
Tullyallen, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Summer phoneline: +353 41 982 6459
Outside the above period please contact Brú na Bóinne +353 41 988 0300
10km north-west of Drogheda off the R168 (Drogheda-Collon Road)
Admission free of charge.
No admission to exhibition.