It’s back to Youghal for Thursday Doors this week and a visit to a medieval building, or what’s left of it. North Abbey Dominican priory was founded in 1268 by Thomas FitzMaurice FitzGerald. His maternal grandfather, Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly, founded the Franciscan Friary of South Abbey, on the other side of the town, in 1224 but unfortunately, nothing remains of that structure. The Fitzgeralds or Geraldines of Kildare were Anglo-Normans and came from quite modest beginnings. The family arrived in Ireland with Richard ‘Strongbow’ de Clare in 1169 and the pioneering exploits of Maurice FitzGerald earned him the reward of land in County Kildare. Strongbow, who inherited the nickname from his father, was a Cambro-Norman lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland.
Giraldus Cambrensis (b. 1147), a distinguished author who wrote ‘Topography of Ireland’ and ‘History of the Conquest of Ireland’ recorded his impression of Strongbow as this; “His complexion was somewhat ruddy and his skin freckled; he had grey eyes, feminine features, a weak voice, and short neck. For the rest, he was tall in stature, and a man of great generosity and of courteous manner. What he failed of accomplishing by force, he succeeded in by gentle words. In time of peace he was more disposed to be led by others than to command. Out of the camp he had more the air of any ordinary man-at-arms than of a general-in-chief; but in action the mere soldier was forgotten in the commander. With the advice of those about him, he was ready to dare anything; but he never ordered any attack relying on his own judgment, or rashly presuming on his personal courage. The post he occupied in battle was a sure rallying point for his troops. His equanimity and firmness in all the vicissitudes of war were remarkable, being neither driven to despair in adversity, nor puffed up by success.”
The ruins of North Abbey sit in the grounds of the local cemetery, which is located close to the center of Youghal town. By the amount of earth filling up the entrance, you can see how much of the old abbey is ‘sitting in the ground’ but at least that lovely arch is still visible.
Many thanks for stopping by and if you head on over to Norm’s blog there are lots more Thursday Doors worth viewing. Some even have doors in them – unlike mine this week. 😉