Fodor's Expert Review Ballintubber Abbey

Castlebar Notable Building

This is the only church in Ireland founded by an Irish king and still in daily use. Ballintubber has greeted its faithful flock since 1216, when Cathal O'Connor built it on the site of St. Patrick's church, which was built some 800 years earlier, a replica of which can be found on the grounds. In the 1960s, the 15th-century cloister was unearthed by excavators in surprisingly good condition, given Cromwell had left his mark on the structure, and it now creates a serene space alongside the abbey. Scan the gardens for Seán na Sagart's (Sean the Priest Hunter's) Tree. He escaped the gallows indebted to local Sheriff Bingham---to be repaid by bringing him one head of a priest yearly. After Sean's death, the story goes, a blossomless tree grew from his grave and splintered in half when it was hit by lightning, creating a fitting epitaph for a black soul. In more recent times, 007 actor Pierce Brosnan's marriage to Keely Shaye Smith occurred in the abbey.

Notable Building Historical Romantic

Quick Facts

Castlebar, Co. Mayo  Ireland


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, Abbey: daily, 9 am--midnight. Guided tours available 9:30--5 by arrangement

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