St Mary's Abbey

St Mary's Abbey

First Built in 1042 by a Viking King

King Sitric, the Norse Viking King of Dublin, founded the earliest church here 1042 in what was then a waterfront site. The church was replaced around 1235 by this abbey which was amalgamated with the monastery on Ireland’s Eye, It was then rebuilt late in the 14th century.

The abbey was served by a community of 3 or more priests. The church originally had two aisles, each of which had a gabled roof. The building was again modified in the 15th and 16th centuries when a larger gable and bell-cote were added. Extensive work was carried out in 2011/12 due to the perimeter wall collapsing after a heavy rainstorm - this uncovered a number of coffins to the horrified locals!

The St Lawrence family from the nearby Howth Castle also modified the east end of the Abbey to act as a private Chapel - This location now houses a finely carved Tomb from the 15th century of the 13th Baron of Howth and his wife Christopher St Lawrence.


St Mary's Abbey, Church St, Howth