St. Mary’s Abbey is one of Dublin’s best kept secrets. It was once the wealthiest Cistercian Abbey in Ireland. Today only two rooms remain – the Chapter House and the Slype.
The Abbey, founded in 1139, played a large role in the affairs of the state until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539. It was in the Chapter House that “Silken” Thomas Fitzgerald started his unsuccessful rebellion in 1534 and it is in this context that the Abbey is mentioned in the “Wandering Rocks” chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce.
The area is currently being excavated in preparation for a hotel development.