The first Cistercians came to Ireland in 1142 and built Old Mellifont Abbey. In 1152, the abbey hosted the Synod of Kells-Mellifont. After dissolution in 1539, the abbey became a private manor house. The treaty of Mellifont was signed here in 1603 and the abbey served as William of Orange’s headquarters in the 1690 Battle of the Boyne. Today, Old Mellifont Abbey lies in ruins.
New Mellifont Abbey was created in 1938, when Cardinal McRory invited the monks of Mount Melleray Abbey in Co. Waterford to found a new monastery at Oriel Temple, Collon on lands that had been part of Mellifont Abbey for hundreds of years. The present community, while reduced in numbers continues to live a life based on Cistercian values. They run a farm and garden in the area.
While we visited Old Mellifont in 2008, we did not return on this trip. We did take a Sunday morning stroll through New Mellifont and enjoyed the pastoral quiet of the grounds. There used to be a printing press on the property, but it is now closed. Cousin J worked his whole career in this printing office.
The walk around the grounds