In 1142, Irish and French monks settled in this remote corner and founded Ireland’s first Cistercian abbey, which was Ireland’s largest abbey until it was closed in 1539. The architectural forms created by a French architect were new to Ireland and influenced many future monastery buildings.
There is hardly anything left of the splendour of the former monastery. However, foundation remains give an idea of the former size. In the middle of the ruins stand out the remains of the lavatory, the monks’ well house. Four side walls of the octagonal structure still stand. Also preserved are the chapter house, the gatehouse and some arches of the cloister.