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Visit Ireland's Heritage Of Medieval Times At Ross Abbey

Ross Abbey in County Galway is a wonderful example for Ireland heritage of medieval times.

Ross Errilly Friary, County Galway, Ireland

What Is There To See

Ross Abbey is the name used locally for Ross Errilly Friary, one of the most prolific and longest surviving Franciscan monasteries in Ireland which, after its final demise, left a superb ruin now in the care of the Office of Public Works that can be visited for free.

The ruin is of a 15th century monastic building with all walls, doorways, some stairs and some fascinating features still intact.

Ross Abbey, Headford, County Galway.

How To Get There

Personally we consider Ross Abbey one of the top tourist attractions in County Galway. It can be easily reached from Galway City by heading North for Headford on the N84. At the crossroads in Headford turn left for Greenfields. After about a mile look for a sign on the right hand sight for Ross Abbey, then just follow the signs. The approach to the monastery has a beautiful view into the valley, and a real ‘I am in the country’ feel.

Ross Abbey, Headford, County Galway.

The beauty of Ireland's medieval heritage is on show at Ross Abbey, County Galway.

Features At Ross Abbey

Ross Abbey is a well preserved ruin and it has some interesting features, such as the beautiful central cloister which is left quite intact. Look out for the fish tank in the kitchen where live fish freshly caught in the Black River out the back of the friary were kept until their time had arrived to be cooked. An oven and bake house were close by. Look out for the alcoves telling us where the upper levels which were dormitories, used to be located, and notice just how low the ceilings were. Imagine a couple of hundred monks living here and farming the surrounding lands.

An ingenious medieval fishtank at Ross Abbey, Headford, County Galway.

What is this, you ask? If you were short a fridge and freezer, and you want to stock up on fish because you had two hundred odd mouths to feed, wouldn't you think of the same ingenious option of keeping your fish alive in a fish tank until the feast day arrived?! Pretty cool, we think.

Our Special Tips

Tip No 1:

Playing tag or hide and seek with the kids in this place with its many enclosures and hideaways will be a real thrill. This place has a truly medieval feel and will make for an hour of playful exploration of Ireland heritage admiring the many intriguing features and imagining what life here would have been like for the two hundred or more friars who were living here at any one time during its peak years.

Rear view of Ross Abbey, Headford, County Galway.

Tip No 2:

Make a day of it on a Sunday by visiting Ross Abbey first, having lunch at the Sunflower Cafe in Headford or head for Campbell’s Tavern at Cloghanover (facing Galway turn left after the large petrol station just 2 miles from Headford which will be on your right) who have jazz sessions popular with the whole family every other Sunday from 2-4, and other arts and music events.

Family grave slab at Ross Abbey, Headford, County Galway. This is the best preserved Franciscan friary in Ireland.

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