The connection of Clane Abbey with Christianity, predates St. Patrick’s. The abbey was founded by St. Ailbe, bishop of Ferns. St. Senchall was the second abbot.
The abbey took part in the missionary work of the sixth and seventh centuries. With the coming of the Normans, the celtic (Irish) abbey went into decline. However, in 1260 Gerald FitzMaurice (also known as Lord Offaly) built a new abbey which housed members of the Franciscan order.
It is the ruins of this later abbey which we can see today. The old abbey became assimilated as part of the foundations of the new abbey. Many prominent gentry such as the Hogans and Wesleys were associated with the abbey, as patrons and priors