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a brief history east wall The Augustinian priory of Kells is probably the largest and most magnificent of all Ireland's monastic sites. Dating back to 1193 it is steeped in an history involving, among others, Normans, Welsh, an invasion, Henry VIII, and a Baron.The Augustinian priory of Kells is probably the largest and most magnificent of all Ireland's monastic sites. Dating back to 1193 it is steeped in an history involving, among others, Normans, Welsh, an invasion, Henry VIII, and a Baron."> Situated within the village and alongside the Kings river it is unusual in the extent of its fortifications. The priory, or "castles" as it is locally known, was built by Baron Geoffrey FitzRobert under the instructions of Strongbow and established by four Canons Regular brought over from Bodmin, Cornwall.The Augustinian priory of Kells is probably the largest and most magnificent of all Ireland's monastic sites. Dating back to 1193 it is steeped in an history involving, among others, Normans, Welsh, an invasion, Henry VIII, and a Baron. Situated within the village and alongside the Kings river it is unusual in the extent of its fortifications. The priory, or "castles" as it is locally known, was built by Baron Geoffrey FitzRobert under the instructions of Strongbow and established by four Canons Regular brought over from Bodmin, Cornwall."> Access was originally gained from a north facing river entrance or via an east and a west gate into the Burgess Court. The Burgess, apparently, was added to the priory during the 15th and 16th century for the protection of the inhabitants,villagers and livestock. The older part of the priory is a more densely built area alongside the Kings river. As the accompanying map shows, it contains the old parish church, the remains of an extensive and ornate cloister, and the living and cooking areas used by the canons. There are also the ruins of a mill and brewery. A large tower attached to the south-east side of the church is of later construction - probably around 1500. The Prior's tower, like the other towers, would originally have had three or four floors of timber. The recesses in the stone walls where the huge floor beams were inserted can be seen in this and the other towers. The church dates back to original times, its nave, north transcept and Lady chapel being planned and much of it built during the lifetime of it's founder. The tower in the center of the church, like the Prior's tower and another biult into the west end of the chancel, were not added until centuries later. South of the priory are the remains of St.Kieran's church-the oldest religious site in the village proper. An older, pre Norman church occupied this site long before the priory was even considered. Sometime after the dissolution of the priory the present front and west wing and bell tower were added to provide a protestant place of worship. The old town of Kells appears to have been situated over the road from this church.
a brief History
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Acknowledgement
Our thanks to Albert Smith for permission to extract from his book A Brief History of Kells, Co.Kilkenny.

Kells Region Economic & Tourism Enterprise, Mullins Mill, Kells, Co.Kilkenny.
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