Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tintern Abbey and Hook Head

Tintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey is situated on the  west coast of Bannow Bay. It was a powerful Cistercian Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. In 1200 The Earl of Pembroke came to Ireland on his first visit as Lord of Leinster. Threatened by shipwreck he vowed to found a monastery wherever he landed safely. Arriving safely in Bannow Bay he kept his promise by bequeathing 9000 acres for the founding of Tintern Abbey. 
Tintern Abbey
It was populated by monks from the Cistercian Abbey at Tintern in Monmouthshire where he was also the Patron.

Looking down to the Estuary
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Abbey was granted to Anthony Colclough from Staffordshire. Over the years the Colclough family remodelled the Abbey, turning the church into living quarters. They built the village of Saltmills to replace the village of Tintern which was then demolished. 

The last member of the Colclough family, Lucey Marie Biddulph Colclough left the house in 1959 a few years before the government took over its care.
Renovations began in 1982 and uncovered many of the features of the original abbey.

Woodland Walk at Tintern

On the road to Saltmills
Old Boat

Not to far away from Tintern lies Hook Head. The Hook has what is thought to be one of the oldest  operational lighthouses in  Europe.

It dates back to the 13th century and maybe further. The tower stands four storeys high with walls up to 4 metres thick. The tower was constructed of local limestone and the original building survives almost intact. Standing 36 metres high, the tower consists of two tiers linked by as mural (within the wall) stairway of 115 steps. The first tier is 13m in diameter at the base and has three storeys, each consisting of a rib-vaulted chamber with original thirteenth century fireplace. In the thickness of the wall there are a number of small 
mural chambers, including two garderobes (toilets).

The upper tier is 6m in diameter: originally it supported the fire beacon, which in later times was replaced by a lantern.  It continues to serve its original function to this day. It too was constructed by William Marshal,  the same Earl of Pembroke that was responsible for the building of Tintern Abbey.

  The peninsula itself is composed of fossil-bearing carboniferous limestone.
Fossils can be seen in the rock.
The limestone rock was burned in the many limekilns which can still be seen on the peninsula. 

Sea Pinks
The limestone powder which this produced was used to improve the quality of the soil. It was also mixed with sand to make lime mortar for building stone walls and houses.
Tintern and the Hook lighthouse make a very enjoyable day out.

ABC Wednesday


  1. What a fascinating post and super photos! I was interested in the abbey as I have been to tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire and the names of Colclough and Biddulph are familiary to me from the area of Staffordshire I live in now:)

  2. Yes, indeed, a marvelous, fascinating post for the T Day! Love your beautiful photos and the history you've included! Next best thing to visiting there myself, which I would love to do! Hope you have a great week! Enjoy!

    ABC Team

  3. Hi Tina and Rosie thank you for your kind words. It is a very beautiful area.
    Rosie, it is indeed a small world.

  4. Wow, a great post, very interesting and beautiful photos. I'd love to tour around that abbey.

  5. really enjoyed this..Looks like great place to have a camera. Really loved the first picture of the boat. I started following you


  6. What a wonderful post! Each item was more wonderful than the next, although I am still taken by the Abbey and am thrilled to hear it is restored!

  7. A gorgeous building...don't you wish the walls could talk?!
    Jane x

  8. magnificent abbey-turned-residence. like the brook., too. but something especially compelling about that old boat.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  9. Thank you for these beautiful photos. When we were in Wales we also were at Tintern there and saw the ruins of Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire and the old railway station in Tintern. I didn't know that there was a Tintern Abbey in Ireland too. I've just read something about it in Wikipedia.

  10. Superb series of photos! I'm particularly fond of the Woodland Walk at Tintern which is lushly flavored with green!

  11. @Jim, thanks for the follow.
    @Roger The boat is a favourite photo of mine too.
    @Reader Wil I haven't been to the other Tintern. I'll have to add it to my long long list of places to visit.
    What is it about ruins that is so attractive?

  12. In my mind Tintern Abbey has always seemed a most romantic spot. The country is very beautiful as well.

  13. What a beautiful place to explore. I enjoyed this post very much.

  14. Outstanding. What a beautiful place -- like a dream.

    And the fossils in the rock? Wow. :-)


  15. By the way, I saw that you added my blog to your blogroll. I'm so glad that you like my writing.


  16. It's a good thing that you could not see my mouth gaping open as I read through this post!!! Let alone the gasp that came from my lips! Oh my gosh. All of it is so wonderful.
    I also forgot to include in my post about the on line auction for the Oaxaca Street Children that is about to begin.
    Perhaps you will visit my other blog to find out more about it:

  17. I knew about the structure, the Wordsworth poem, but not the fossils!

  18. Beautiful shots of the place. Would love to see them in person.

  19. Tintern Abbey and Hook Head lighthouse Tower make a Terrific day Trip! Well done, lovely series of images and interesting history. I only wonder how William Marshall acquired the land to bequeath in the first place...? I can't imagine "living" in the monastery as a residence. Tremendous that it's being restored and renovated.

  20. Mary, your posts are always a high point of my blog reading day, and I love your photos. This post has covered so many loves of mine: history, nature, and macro shots of anything! Thanks so much for sharing. Makes me wish I could see this beautiful spot.
    ~cath xo
    @jonesbabie on Twitter

  21. Wow! Such beautiful shots!
    And what a great place! Would love to visit it!
    Thanks for sharing;o) And thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment;o)

    Hope you are having a nice and happy week****

  22. What a marvellous series of photographs. I feel like I have gone on holiday without moving from my chair! That Abbey looks amazing.. I am definitely going to take my daughter there ... can you publish the directions to it? Cheers me dear x

  23. That looks the perfect day out, an abbey and a lighthouse, then you topped it with fossils and blue skies. The monks always found beautiful places to build.

  24. @Fransisca After the Normans conquered England they came to Ireland and it was made a Lordship of England. They then seized a lot of the land
    @Cath at least we have the joy of armchair travelling. I have seen more places blogging than I have in reality.
    @Annie If you ever get over here, give me a shout, think if I was to have a second career I'd like to be a tour guide:-) A marks the spot. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&rlz=1G1ACAW_ENIE384&q=hook+lighthouse+ireland&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl
    @Joy have you seen the monasteries in Meteora in Greece. Locations are wonderful

  25. Wow, another breathtaking place you have shared to us. You must be living in paradise hehehe..

  26. Very interesting post and beautiful pictures !


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