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63d. The 'Black' Abbey, KILKENNY TOWN

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

SCENES from IRELAND - County Kilkenny

The Black Abbey is the restored Dominican church founded in 1225 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. In the restoration and rebuilding process all of the windows have been filled a marvellous array of stunning stained glass windows or painted glass windows.

The Abbey is dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity. This one of Irelands oldest churches with its official title of "Abbey of the Most Holy Trinity".

63a. Kilkenny Castle and Design Centre 63b. Rothe House * 63c. Kilkenny Cathedral * 63d. The 'Black Abbey'

63e. St Mary's Medieval Mile Museum * 63f St Mary's Catholic Cathedral

The Black Abbey KilkennyThe Black Abbey Kilkenny

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: It is the only original Dominican foundation in Ireland still in use after nearly 800 years. The tower was built in 1507 and still stands to this day! In 1543 the Dominican community was dispersed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII and the church turned into a courthouse. However, in 1603, the citizens of Kilkenny seized the church and returned it to the Dominicans. Three priests were protected for a time but later driven out by English forces. By 1643 the Dominicans were back in charge during the 'Confederation of Kilkenny' and the Abbey was repaired, but in 1650 it was sacked by Cromwell's army. It wasn't until 1816, after further Catholic repression, that the church was finally open for church services. In 1866 the nave was restored.

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: The main building of the main building of the Black Abbey. The name 'Black Abbey' comes from the black cappa worn by Dominican priests over their white Habit.

 

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

The Black Abbey

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

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The Black Abbey Kilkenny

 

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: Examples of the stained glass panels in the Black Abbey.

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: Some of the spectacular more 'modern' stained glass windows.

Kilkenny Black AbbeylThe Black Abbey Kilkenny

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The Black Abbey Kilkenny

 

The Black Abbey Kilkenny

 

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: The great south Rosary Window with the intact medieval tracery of the magnificent stonework. The stained glass panels represent the Fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: Examples painted glass panels in the windows

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

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Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: The south Rosary window in more detail.

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: Near the Rosary window is an alabaster sculpture of the Most Holy Trinity, to whom the Abbey is dedicated. It represents God the Father enthroned, holding a crucifix with a figure of the Son, and on the crucifix is perched a dove representing the Holy Spirit. It has date of 1264 carved on it, but experts date to around AD 1400.

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Some lovely modern small stained glass windows

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

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Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

 

Kilkenny Black Abbeyl

Black Abbey Kilkenny: Near the entrance of the Black Abbey are ten stone coffins dating from the 13th or 14th centuries.


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Kilkenny St Francis Abbeyl

The ruined tower and nave of the church of St Francis Abbey, which is situated in a factory yard!

 

St Francis Abbey Kilkenny

View of the ruins of St Francis Abbey from the top of the round tower of St Canice Cathedral


More on the Black Abbey of Kilkenny (adapted from Wikipedia)

The Black Abbey of Kilkenny, Ireland, is a Catholic priory of the Dominican Order, dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Black Abbey was established in 1225 as one of the first houses of the Dominican Order in Ireland. The name Black Abbey derives from the use of the term "Black Friars" to describe members of the Dominican Order. This in turn derives from the black cappa or cloak which Dominicans wear over their white habits. When the priory was founded the 13th century, the town of Kilkenny was divided in two parts by the Bregach River. One part was occupied mainly by indigenous Irish and the other by English settlers. The Dominicans established the priory between those two towns and outside the city walls, because they wished to show their independence from either side. Unfortunately, the site chosen for the priory presented challenges, because ever since the priory was established, right up to the present time, the buildings are subject to annual flooding from the river.

The priory was founded in 1225 by William Marshal the younger, Earl of Pembroke, who died in 1231. In 1349, the community within the priory was affected by the outbreak of bubonic plague - known as the Black Death. Eight members of the community died in three months during this pandemic. After the plague years, very few structural changes were carried out at the priory up until the end of 15th century.[2] In 1558, Ireland was under the rule of Elizabeth I of England, a Protestant queen, and the property of the priory was confiscated by the crown. Elizabeth died in 1603, but the policies of the new Protestant King, James I, did not change: the priory became a courthouse, and the Dominicans were forced to leave and find places to stay in other houses.

From 1642 to 1649, Black Abbey played a major part in attempting to save both the Irish Catholic religion and the king, Charles I of England and of Ireland; the abbey hosted the government known as the Irish Catholic Confederation. This effort did not last long however. In March 1650, the English army under the command of Oliver Cromwell surrounded Kilkenny in a siege. Many people died from epidemic and hunger, many more fled before the city finally surrendered. From 1685 to 1689 under the rule of the Catholic king James II of England, the abbey flourished, but in 1690, under the rule of the Protestant king William III of England, both Kilkenny and the abbey were once again occupied by the English.

By 1776, the community of the Black Abbey was close to zero, but starting in that year, the Dominicans retook possession of the abbey, first by renting it. In 1816, Black Abbey was restored as a Dominican priory, and the first public mass was held on 25 September 1816. On Trinity Sunday, 22 May 1864, Black Abbey was reconsecrated by the bishop, and was finally opened again as a house of prayer.

In nearly all cases, the main building of monasteries of the Dominicans and Franciscans in Ireland followed the same plan. There was a nave and a choir (pointing east), separated by a tower. From the tower or the nave they had just one transept, pointing to the north or the south, in most cases with one aisle. In some cases, an aisle was also attached to the nave. Black Abbey followed this plan: The original choir fell into ruin, and at the end of the 18th century the stones were used to construct two storey living quarters for the Dominican friars. This structure was used for 120 years. It was demolished to enable the reconstruction of the nave, which made possible the reconsecration of the abbey in 1864. (The south transept was restored first, and before the reconsecration, masses were held there.) The nave leads to the altar below the tower. Immediately behind the altar is the large stained glass window known as the "Rosary Window", which is composed of five "lights" or great vertical panels, and is the largest stained glass window in Ireland. This window was created in 1892 by Mayers of Munich, and depicts the Mysteries of the Rosary.
 


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63a. Kilkenny Castle and Design Centre 63b. Rothe House * 63c. Kilkenny Cathedral * 63d. The 'Black Abbey'

63e. St Mary's Medieval Mile Museum * 63f St Mary's Catholic Cathedral


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