03 Jul Holy Cross Abbey, County Tipperary
Founded in 1169 by the Benedictines, Holy Cross was supposedly endowed with a splinter from the True Cross, hence its name. Now it has been completely restored, and the church has become once again a popular place of worship and pilgrimage.
Most of the present structure dates from the 15th century. It was built by the Cistercians, who took over the abbey in 1180. This gracious cruciform church, embellished with mullioned windows and sculpted pillars, is one of the finest examples of late Gothic architecture in Ireland.
The chancel has fine ribbed vaulting and, in the south wall, an exquisitely carved sedilia, which is rather oddly called “the tomb of the Good Woman’s son”. The abbey complex, set in charming gardens, also houses an old-fashioned pub.
Holy Cross Abbey is a hidden gem with a rich history that is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.