Mellifont Abbey ( Irish: An Mhainistir Mhór, the great abbey; Latin Fons Mellis translated: the honey source ) is the oldest Cistercian Abbey in Ireland.
The abbey was founded in 1142 on the initiative of the Archbishop of Armagh Malachy and Bernard of Clairvauxs as a daughter house of Clairvaux Abbey in Mellifont in County Louth on the banks of the River Mattock. It is located about 10 km west of the town of Drogheda.
The country presented Donagh O'Carroll, Prince of Uriel available. The French architect was a certain Robert. The abbey was built in the style of northern French Gothic and was still totally uncharacteristic for Ireland. The consecration of the church took place in 1157 and many local kings gave donations to this celebration. Between 1217 and 1228 it came as a result of tensions between the long-established and Anglo-Norman convents for conspiracy of Mellifont ( Conspiracy of Mellifont ), in which the participation in the General Chapter of the Order was denied. To solve the conflict led Stephen of Lexington, the Abbot of Stanley Abbey, a visitation by and subsequently various Irish monasteries were native English monasteries were put under. Mellifont Abbey was due to the (copied from continental abbeys ) architectural style model of other Cistercian monasteries in Ireland ( Baltinglass, Bective, Boyle, Hore, Kilbeggan, Monasteranenagh ( Nenay ), Newry, Sadell and Shrule ) and remained even after the sack of 1494 to repealing in 1539 Ireland's largest abbey. After that, the building was used as a residence. The last monk died here only 1743rd
William III. of Orange- Nassau used Mellifont Abbey during the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 against the 1688 forced the abdication of James II with 36,000 mercenaries as a headquarters. The Protestant William III. triumphed over the Catholic James II and thus solidified the influence of England in Ireland.
Although Mellifont Abbey today is a ruin, and very little of the erstwhile Abbey was left, there are about 25,000 visitors per year. Only an unusual octagonal lavabo (washroom ) from the 13th century, some Romanesque arches of the cloister and chapter house from the 14th century ( with impressive vaulted ceiling and ceramic floor tiles ) can be visited.