New Abbey, Kilcullen

The building of this Franciscan monastery was begun in 1486 at the behest of Roland Eustace, Baron of Portlester.  The foundation was commonly called “The Grey Friars of the New Abbey”.  The Monastery was suppressed in 1539 at the time of the Reformation.  Thereafter it was leased to various individuals, including the poet Edmund Spencer, who was granted a lease on New Abbey at the yearly rent of £3.00 Irish money, on condition that they were “men of the English name and nation”.  Amongst those buried in the cemetery are Baron Portlester and his wife, marked by the significant Portlester altar tomb, with an effigy of both on a now weathered beaten slab.  The mother of “Silken Thomas” Fitzgerald and the government troops, who died at the battle of Old Kilcullen in 1798 are also buried there.

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