Mayo Abbey, Ancient Capital of County Mayo, Ireland

General Introduction

Mayo Abbey is situated in the heart of County Mayo. It has a rural unspoilt beauty reminiscent of an older Ireland.

It lies hidden away off the main thoroughfare in the area known as the "Plains of Mayo" with its ancient stone walls and thorn hedged land divisions.

The peace and tranquility of this place belies its extraordinary past.

TV Fame

One of its recent claims to fame at the moment is the TV series "Amongst Women" where the Famine Church and graveyard were used for the wedding and funeral scenes.

Our Glorious Past

  • Here lies one of the most important Monastic sites in Western Europe, founded by St Colman in 668 AD

  • Mayo Abbey is unique in that it was founded for Saxon monks. To this day the area is known as "Mayo of the Saxons"

  • It flourished as a centre of learning over the succeeding centuries attracting students from Britain and Europe and particularly the Saxon nobility

  • It had connections with spiritual and political centres such as Iona, Kells and the Frankish Court of Charlemagne

  • In 1152 the Synod of Kells named Mayo Abbey as the seat of the Diocese of Mayo

  • Bishop Patrick O'Healy of Mayo was the first Irish bishop to die for the faith. He was executed in 1579

  • In the 16th century Mayo Abbey gave its name to County Mayo. Mhaigh Eo is an old Irish name meaning "Plain of the Yew Tree".

  • In Penal times Mass continued to be celebrated covertly in the ruins of the Abbey

  • St Colman's Famine church was opened in 1845 on the eve of the Great Famine

Find out more about Bishop Patrick O'Healy Memorial Centre

Mayo Abbey
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Bishop Patrick O'Healy Memorial Centre

Mayo Abbey

County Mayo

+353 94 936 5987

Sneak Peek

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