Trinity Abbey

Trinity Abbey

Co. Cavan


Holding the remains of the Holy Trinity Monastery, this privately-owned island is easily viewed by car or bus from its striking shoreline, abundant with natural beauty. Holy Trinity Monastery (Trinity Abbey), built in 1214 by the Order of Premontre is famed for the creation there of a monastic work which chronicles local Irish affairs between the years of 1014 and 1570.

It is the legend, though, of a young woman-Una Bahn-that proves irresistible.

The daughter of a MacDermott chieftain, Una Bahn fell in love with a neighbor, Tomas. When her father refused to let them marry and banished Tomas from the island, Una fell into a deep melancholy and died of a broken heart. She was buried on Trinity Island near the monastery.

In his grief, Tomas swam to the island every night to keep vigil at her grave. Eventually, he fell ill, and realizing that he, too, was dying, begged MacDermott to allow him to be buried beside his beloved Una Bahn. The chieftain granted his request . The two lovers were eternally united and that occasionally, the sounds of laughter filter across the lake and two figures embracing rise from the mist.

The west gable of the Abbey remains in remarkable condition. It displays a pointed window over a mutilated doorway. Fragments of stone slabs with ornate and elaborate carvings are strewn about the adjoining graveyard (where Una and Tomas are said to be buried). Also said to be buried here are the remains of noble chieftain O'Reilly and many of his family members. Splendid monuments once marked their graves. Surrounded by a circular fosse planted with tall white thorns, the monastery and its cemetery at Trinity Island would have been protected from wind and water, its monks sheltered from cold winds blowing off the lake.

For directions and information on rentals or tours, contact Tom O'Dowd

T: ++ 353 49 43 34314



Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007


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