Continental Monasteries

The first 'Continental' style monastery to be built in Ireland was founded, by Saint Malachy of Armagh, at Mellifont in 1142, following his visit to Saint Bernard's Cistercian monastery at Citeaux in France. This complex of large, high buildings was such a wonder to the native Irish that it was given the epithet 'An Mhainistir Mhór' - the Great Monastery. Over the following two to three centuries monasteries, abbeys, friaries and priories belonging to various Continental orders were founded all over the country. Among the more noticeable examples of these in County Louth are at Mellifont (Cistercians), Carlingford (Dominicans), Dundalk (Franciscans, though the current 'Friary' is Dominican) and Drogheda (Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and others).