Killelan Abbey

Killelan Abbey

This was one of those sites that you just happen to come across by pure chance. On a recent trip down near Moone I was in the process of getting lost yet again,down some narrow country road thanks to my trusty Sat Nav. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted something of interest. So I turned around and was able to park the car on the verge just outside the boundary wall gate.

Killelan Abbey (1)

Killelan Abbey (2)

The ruins known as Killelan Abbey consist of a church and graveyard. With little information available for this site, I really had to do some digging on this one. It would seem that the site at Killelan is the remains of a 13th century settlement connected to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, whom were better known as the Crusader Knights Hospitaller. Unfortunately this is pretty much all that is known.

Killelan Abbey (3)

Killelan Abbey (4)

Access to the ruin is via a gap in the wall and there are no paths within the enclosure save for a beaten track. The ground within the enclosure is significantly higher than outside with the surface quite uneven and overgrown in parts, so care is needed if exploring. Similar to the site at Oughterard the main square part of the church has a barrel vaulted ceiling with what seems to have been some sort of Round/circular Tower attached to the North-West, this was believed to have been added at a later date, perhaps 14th century. Also visible are small sections of what was once the foundations to part of the nave.

Killelan Abbey (5)

Killelan Abbey (6)

After studying the circular part of the tower for a while to figure a way in, I found a small crawl-space which lead to a spiral stair case. As luck would have it I was not properly attired for the occasion and had to miss out on ascending the tower.  Most of the grave stones that are still readable date from 18th – 19th century, with many more that appear to be much older. With so little available information available we can on speculate as to the surrounding history of such a location but I guess it would be a safe bet to assume that Killelan would have come to an abrupt end either during the Suppression of the monastery’s by Henry VIII in 1534 or if it indeed survived the ‘Act of Suppression’, Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland (1649–1653) would have surely finished the job.

Killelan Abbey (7)

Killelan Abbey (8)

Killelan Abbey (9)

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Historical, Landscape, Photography, Places of Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Killelan Abbey

  1. Kasia says:

    In Ireland you never know when you become an accidental explorer 🙂

  2. Some of my aunts/uncles who died very young are buried here. There were no headstones so we have no idea where in the graveyard they are buried. R.I.P.

  3. Jo Woolf says:

    Wow, what an amazing place!
    Thanks for visiting The Hazel Tree – I’m glad to have found your blog.

    • Thanks for the follow, Glad you enjoy my blog, I’m really looking forward to checking out the rest of your wonderful blog. If I ever finish exploring the sites of Ireland I know where I will be heading next, 🙂

  4. Awesome pics here of the abbey. Really communicate the atmosphere well.

  5. Brilliant words and images!

  6. Ajaytao2010 says:

    Beautiful pictures

  7. inkyvampire says:

    Terrific pictures, what a wonderful experience.

  8. amundr says:

    Ah, that green layer of history! It’s being engulfed by the landscape- quite organic. Lots of stories in these walls!

  9. ittymac says:

    Stunning photography! The mysteriously vague history adds to its richness! Thanks for sharing your talent and thank you for visiting and reading my work.

  10. Wonderful photos! And thanks for visiting my blog.

  11. Sherri Stone says:

    I’m one of those want to be Irish people and I just sighed when I looked at your beautiful photographs. Thanks for “liking” my blog today so I could visit your blog and follow you!

  12. ketigjipali says:

    Was this for real ? Its just like in one of those fairy-tales !

  13. Thanks for visiting my blog. This was an interesting piece – liked the photos, the sense of discovery and the mysterious lack of history

  14. Great snaps, thanks for sharing an awe-inspiring landscape. Ireland’s on our travel destinations bucket-list!

  15. gpcox says:

    What can I say – Whoa!

  16. ebbtide says:

    these are fantastic! it’s one thing to get a good shot off, but it’s a completely different thing to capture the atmostphere of a place, and you’ve managed it – love these!

  17. janjoy52 says:

    Awesome adventure and gorgeous pictures!

  18. Livonne says:

    OMG.. That is stunning.. It’s my dream to go to Ireland.. those sorts of photos just make me long for it even more 🙂

  19. Lovely photographs of a truly lovely place.
    Thank you too for visiting Move the Chair-I appreciate you taking the time to look.

  20. Love the way you captured the beauty of your country, can’t wait to see more of your work!
    Also thanks for stopping by my site.

  21. Stephanie Jill Rudd says:

    Beautiful photography, interesting site as well. Thanks for dropping by my blog on Pilgrimage. Question… How do you put text on your photo to copyright it? I would like to do that but don’t know how to?

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for your kind words. You are the second person this week to ask that question. I made my watermark in Photoshop, i am looking at doing a quick tutorial to post here. Do you use a particular photo editing suite?

      • Stephanie Jill Rudd says:

        OMG I am going to look so ignorant here. No I don’t use any photo editing suite at all.

        • Not all, but its the only way to do a watermark, there are plenty of different software packages ranging from free such as gimp or paint up to expensive professional ones like adobe photoshop. You can download free trials of the later and then their is a cheaper version called elements which is good to start out with.

  22. Thanks for visiting my blog, and in so doing introducing me to yours…and your stunning work!

  23. Lee Reed says:

    I am of the Ansel Adams school of printmaking in that I believe that in every black and white print we should be able to find something that is pure white and something else that is pure black. This tells us that we have used the full range of grays that are available to us. There are, of course, exceptions, particularly if we are trying to portray a foggy scene where the gray scale is muted. In your first image I don’t see anything that appears to be pure white. Is that just my monitor or are you trying to create a foggy look? Either way, I would love to see you expand the grayscale to its full limits just to see if you like that better. (It’s easy enough to do with the ‘Levels’ command.

    Just my thoughts as a fellow photographer.

    • Hi Lee, Great to get some proper critique here, your comment is appreciated. Im not sure about the foggy effect! maybe it was me, but i will definitely have a look at this image to see if I can make an improvement. Thanks again, 🙂

  24. Jerry says:

    Love’em. I would have had to battle myself if I had taken these shots. Color…no…B&W…no color. 😉

  25. the tow path says:

    Great picture. I love abandoned buildings.

  26. Jude says:

    Many thanks for stopping by my blog with a like. You have some fabulous work here!

  27. choppy123 says:

    Absolutely beautiful photographs, I love ruins and cemetries 🙂

  28. Sean Fraser says:

    your photos are just wonderful

  29. Francis says:

    This a great and very interesting blog – I love coming across unknown ruins and exploring them!

  30. RDoug says:

    Excellent shots despite the gloomy skies. That’s not easily pulled off.

  31. noelgreene says:

    Very very special

  32. amomnextdoor says:

    Beautiful photos of a magical place. Rekindles my desire to walk the ley-lines of the old country…Thanks for stopping by my blog, A Mom Next Door. Next time we’ll skip Disneyland and go here instead!

  33. really beautiful pictures

  34. cyleodonnell says:

    Great stuff! Check out my ireland gallery at I’d love to trade notes!


  35. drybredquips says:

    Thanks for liking “archaeologists” and for sharing your great photographs, Ed. Hope you like some other quips. Best to you in your work and your blog.

  36. myeagermind says:

    Beautiful photographs, I think one would look lovely in a frame in my home.

  37. Suzanne says:

    I like the way you have processed your photos. It conveys that almost mystical effect Irish sites like this have. The second one looks like some place in a fairytale.

  38. Love the sepia shot at the top of this page Ed!
    There is a small “secret” room/chamber at the top of this tower, accessible from the grass covered “roof”. You need to take extreme ascending the spiral staircase as the steps are worn, sloped and sandy.

    • Thanks, glad that you liked it, it is one of my personnel favorites. That is really interesting. Guess I have to go back and check that out. When I was here last I wasn’t prepared. Thank you so much for the info. Keep an eye out for an updated post coming soon. 🙂

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