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Creeveley Friary.



Creeveley Friary.

Owen O'Rourke and his wife Margaret founded this Franciscan Friary in 1508 it was the last to be established in Ireland before Henry VIII's suppression of the monasteries. Substantial remains of the nave, choir and south wing remain, the east and west windows are in good condition. Of the claustral buildings the ambulatory is almost complete Opposite the refectory are carved effigies of Saint Francis, to the north of the cloister is the remains of the gatehouse.

The tower was converted into living quarters in the 17th century. To the north of the church a number of domestic buildings surround the cloister. The cloister is irregular in shape, and in the centre of the north side there are a number of interesting carvings on the pillars. One of these shows St. Francis with the stigmata, and with an inscription crossing his body.

Another shows the same saint in a pulpit with birds perched on a tree; legend says that he understood the language of the birds. On the east side of the cloister are three rooms, that nearest the church being a sacristy, and beyond these rooms is a passage joining the cloister with the outside world. In the north wing is the refectory and kitchen; the buildings in the north western part are later additions.

On the first and second floors were dormitories and other rooms. The friary was severely damaged in an accidentally fire in 1536, with the suppression of the monasteries following five years later it seems improbable that the building was totally restored.

A further restoration was taking place in 1642, but the Cromwellian's forced the friars to leave. It then came into the hands of a man called Harrison, probably granted to him by Cromwell.

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Harrison obviously not as staunchly anti Catholic as Cromwell rented it to the friars at an exorbitant rent, the friars roofed the church with thatch. It is thought the building was abandoned towards the end of the 17th century.