Creevelea Abbey

Creevelea Abbey is a medieval Franciscan friary and National Monument located in County Leitrim, Ireland.[2]

Creevelea Abbey
Mainistir na Craoibhe Léithe
Location within Ireland
Monastery information
Other namesCreevlea Abbey, Creebelea Abbey, Craobhliath, Crowlekale, Crueleach, Carrag Patrice, Petra Patricii, Druim-da-ethair, Baile-ui-ruairc, Ballegruaircy, Cuivelleagh, Killanummery.[1]
OrderThird Order of Saint Francis (Order of Penance)
Founder(s)Eóghan Ó Ruairc
LocationCreevelea, Dromahair, County Leitrim
Coordinates54.231291°N 8.309791°W / 54.231291; -8.309791
Visible remainschurch, chapter house, cloister, kitchen
Public accessyes
Reference no.69


Creevelea Abbey is located west of Dromahair, on the west bank of the Bonet River.[3][4]


Creevelea Friary was founded in 1508 by Eóghan O'Rourke, Lord of West Bréifne, and his wife Margaret O'Brian, daughter of a King of Thomond. The friary was accidentally burned in 1536 and was rebuilt by Brian Ballach O'Rourke. In 1590 Richard Bingham stabled his horses at Creevelea during his pursuit of Brian O'Rourke, who had sheltered survivors of the Spanish Armada. Dissolved c. 1598.

Sir Tadhg O'Rourke (d. 1605), last King of West Bréifne and Thaddeus Francis O'Rourke (d. 1735), Bishop of Killala are buried here. Another house was built for the friars in 1618 and Creevelea was reoccupied by friars in 1642. The Franciscans were driven out by the Cromwellian Army in the 1650s.[5][6] After the Restoration, the abbey remained in use until 1837.


The remains consist of the church (nave, chancel, transept and choir), chapter house, cloister and domestic buildings. The bell-tower was converted to living quarters in the 17th century. At one point in its history the church was covered with a thatched roof. Carved in the cloister is an image of Saint Francis of Assisi preaching to birds.[7][8]

Archaeological Preservation

The site is preserved as a national monument.[9]

References and Notes



    Primary sources

    • Sunflower Guides (1 March 2004). "Ireland". Hunter Publishing, Inc via Google Books.
    • TripAdvisor. "Creevelea Friary (Leitrim, Ireland): Top Tips Before You Go - TripAdvisor". TripAdvisor.
    • Brewer, Stephen (29 September 2008). "Attraction on Lough Gill". John Wiley & Sons via Google Books.
    • Day, Catharina (1 January 2006). "The province of Connacht, Around Drumahair". New Holland Publishers via Google Books.
    • megalithicireland. "Creevelea Abbey".
    • Higgins, Gerard. "Creevelea Abbey".
    • "Creevelea Abbey in Dromahair". The Sligo Town Website.
    • (2012). "Creevelea Abbey". Retrieved 27 June 2012.

    Secondary sources

    • National Monuments Service (2009). Leitrim (PDF) (Report). National Monuments in State Care: Ownership & Guardianship. Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
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