Located in the historic village of Quin lies the ruins of the Quin Monastic Friary, known locally as Quin Abbey. Consisting of a series of complex buildings, Quin Abbey is located next to the Rine River.

Quin Abbey is situated next to the picturesque Rine River. The ruins of this historic place are truly magnificent.
The Rine River runs alongside Quin Abbey.

Construction of the friary began about 1350 on the ruins of an old Anglo-Norman castle. Quin Abbey was home to a friary of Franciscan monks who maintained a presence here until the early 16th century.

Quin Abbey is one of the best-preserved friaries of its kind in Ireland and is currently managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Structures — what to expect

The abbey was constructed amongst the remains of the Anglo-Norman castle that was here before it. Three of the four bastions from the original castle are still in place and are incorporated into the friary structure.

The friary is accessed by entering the ruins of a church. This church has a round-headed doorway with graduated hood moulding and a pair of lancet windows above. Inside the ruins of a church stands a central tower which was used as a bell tower. Evidence of this can be seen through the tierceron ribs and holes that would have held the bell ropes.

Quin Abbey cloisters are one of the most picturesque and marvellous aspects of this historic place.
In the centre of Quin Abbey is the magnificent cloister.

One of the most impressive aspects of Quin Abbey is the beautiful cloister which still stands to this day. This impressive structure is truly remarkable and beautiful and is the inspiration for many local creatives.

Folklore — fact or myth?

When Quin Abbey was forced to close during penal times, the monks were being persecuted. It is said that the monks hid their gold vessels under a large stone in the river next to Quin Abbey. They are also said to have filled the valuable bell with led so that it would sink when flung into the river.

Over the years, men have attempted to find the gold vessels. On one occasion, a giant eel attacked them, and on another occasion, when the large stone was lifted, a woman dressed in white came at them, and the men ran away in fear.

Quin Abbey as seen from above. It is surrounded by luscious green countryside.
Quin Abbey, the Franciscan abbey at Quin, County Clare, was founded in the 14th century. The cloisters, which remain one of the abbeys most prominent features, were constructed in the 15th century. Courtesy AirSwing Media

It is said that there used to be a tunnel connecting Quin Abbey to Knappogue Castle. In this tale, it is said that instead of hiding their gold vessels in the river that the monks used the tunnels to bring these valuables to the MacNamaras in Knappogue Castle. However, no evidence of such a tunnel remains today.

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