In 1161, the Cistercian monks established the abbey at Boyle in County Roscommon. Previously, they had made three unsuccessful attempts to settle in the province of Connacht. The monastery, which was completed around 1220, was laid out according to the usual Cistercian plan. It had a church on the north side of a rectangular cloister area, with a chapter house for meetings on a second side, a kitchen and refectory on the third, and store houses and a dormitory likely on the fourth.
Today, only small parts of the cloister remain, as the Elizabethans converted it into barracks in 1592 and the Cromwellians besieged it in 1645. Despite its ruined state, the abbey continues to be an excellent example of Ireland’s early Cistercian foundations.
For more information about this national monument, you can view an exhibition housed in a restored gatehouse on the property. Guided tours are offered daily.