A West Cork Village

Timoleague Abbey

     Timoleague abbey was founded by the franciscan order in 1240 A.D. The abbey was built on the site of a monastic settlement founded by Saint Molaga in the 6th century.
     The village's name comes from the Irish for House of Molaga, Tigh Mologa.The abbey was extended by Donal Glas McCarthy in 1312, and by Irish and Norman patrons in the 16th century.    
    The monks were dispersed by the Reformation, but returned in 1604. In 1612 the abbey was sacked by English soldiers who also smashed all of the stained glass windows, but much of the significant architecture remains. The friars remained in the abbey until 1629.

The history of the abbey can be summarised as follows:

c1300 Founded by the Franciscans on the site of ancient monastery of St Molaga: endowed by the Barrys and the McCarthys who are burried here.
1480 Book of MacCarthaigh Riabhach of Killbrittain otherwise known as the Book of Lismore written here
1495 Edmund de Courcy O.F.M., Bishop of Clogher, became Bishop of Ross and resided here: built the tower, dormitory, infirmary and library
1601 Battle of Kinsale: Friary under threat from both sides as some of the Barrys and McCarthys joined Hugh O'Neill's rebellion while others remained loyal to Queen Elizabeth
1603 Burial of Eoin MacEgan, Bishop-elect of Ross, killed in battle against the forces of the Queen
1620 School of Philosophy established
c1633 Timoleague Chalice made in London: later lost but re-discovered on Cape Clear in the 1850's: Still in use.
1639 Visit of Micheál Ó Cléirigh, one of the Four Masters, to copy from the Book of Lismore.
1642 Friary Burnt down by Cromwellian soldiers
1813 Séan Ó Coileáin wrote the poem 'Machnamh an Duine Dhoilíosaigh' (Caoineadh Thigh Molaige), Reflections of the Meloncholy Person (Lament for Timoleague) lamenting the destruction of the friary

Photograph Courtesy of Mike Brown Photography 
(copyright Mike Brown Photography)