Known for its rearing and massive 15th-century tower, Jerpoint Abbey is one of the most notable Cistercian ruins in Ireland, dating from about 1160. The church, tombs, and the restored cloister are must-sees for lovers of the Irish Romanesque. The vast cloister is decorated with affecting carvings of human figures and fantastical mythical creatures, including knights and knaves (one with a stomachache) and the assorted dragon or two. Dissolved in 1540, Jerpoint was taken
over, as was so much around these parts, by the earls of Ormonde. The one part of the abbey that remains alive, so to speak, is its hallowed cemetery—the natives are still buried here. Guided tours are available.
N9, 2 km (1 mile) south of Thomastown, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland