Abandoned ireland


Rhincrew Abbey,

Co. Waterford.

Documenting our Heritage

The ruins of Rhincrew Abbey derive their name from the Irish 'Rinn-iru' translated as 'The Point of Blood', so named after some long forgotten terrible deed.

Rhincrew Abbey was founded as Preceptory of the Knights Templar by Raymond Le Gros in 1183.

Le Gros was an Anglo-Norman commander who had been sent to Ireland by Strongbow in 1170. When he landed in Wexford his force of 100 men and 10 Knights faced an Irish army of more 3000 men. Le Gros achieved victory by rounding up a nearby heard of cattle and driving them headlong into the Irish ranks. More than 1000 Irish were immediately killed or captured and many more fell in the ensuing battle.

Raymond Le Gros died in 1186 and was buried at Molana Priory. An effigy was erected on his tomb with the words ‘Here lies the remains of Raymond le Gros, who died Anno Domini 1186’.

The effigy was removed in the 19th century and its whereabouts is currently unknown.

Rhincrew Abbey,

An early 19th century painting of the effigy by Daniel Grose.

In the middle ages, the Knights Templar, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders and were officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1129. The Order grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combat members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom. Financial techniques were introduced that were an early form of banking, and many fortifications were built all across Europe and the Holy Land.

Rumours about the Knight Templars' secret initiation ceremony created mistrust. King Philip IV of France who was deeply in debt to the Knights Order, took advantage of the situation. In 1307 the King arranged for many of the Order's members in France to be arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then burned at the stake.

Under pressure from King Philip, Pope Clement V issued the Pastoralis Praeeminentiae on 22 November 1307, instructing all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest every Templar Knight and to seize their assets.

Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and Last Grand Master of the Knights Templar,was lead to the stake and burnt for heresy on 18th March 1314.

Rhincrew Abbey was granted to Sir Walter Raleigh on the 3 February 1585 and on 7 Dec 1602 Raleigh sold the abbey with the rest of his estates to Mr. Boyle who later became the first Earl of Cork.

The remains of the Abbey are now overgrown and covered in briars. The outline ruins of a chapel, cloisters, refectory, kitchen and dormitories of the pilgrim knights can still be made out.