23 Jul Fore Abbey, County Westmeath
The ruins of Fore Abbey lie in glorious rolling countryside about 8km east of Tullynally Castle. St Fechin established a monastery here in 630, but what you see now are the remains of a large Benedictine priory founded around 1200. Located on the northern border of the Pale, Fore Abbey was heavily fortified in the 15th century as a protection against the native Irish.
The ruined church was part pf the original Norman priory, but the cloister and refectory date from the 1400s. On the hill opposite lies St Fechin’s Church, a Norman building said to mark the site of the first monastery. The tiny church nearby incorporates a 15th century anchorite’s cell.
Fore Abbey and Tullynally Castle are must-see attractions on your tours of Ireland.