Glenstal Abbey a place of peace
Glenstal Abbey is a very quiet and holy place despite its surprising, fortified appearance. A 19th century Norman revivalist Castle it was home to the Barrington family who lived there up until it was sold to the Benedictine order of Monks who arrived from Belgium in 1927. It became a working abbey with a dairy farm, guest house and boading school for boys, which continues today. You can stay here on a personal retreat if you like, but even a day trip will be enough to restore your mind, body and soul.
In recent year the Monks have become quite famous with the release for sale of their recorded Gregorian chants. A reaction, perhaps to the stresses and strains of life outside of these hallowed walls, with which we are all familiar, a longing for the alternative peace and tranquility of monastic life, without the constraints? Did I tell you about their delicious chocolate truffles laced with liqueurs, such as Benedictine itself, Chartreuse etc from monasteries of Europe, I could be converted.....
Glenstal Abbey has also released it's first ever cookbook which no doubt will be just as successful as their best selling prayer books ! Real ‘soul food’ based on the Monk's legendry hospitality, and a homage to big-hearted, homely comfort food laden with blessed butter, cream, and eggs by the dozen. Compiled by Brother Anselm (real life brother to actor John Hurt) it is available directly from their online shop, as are the divine truffles above!
Glenstal Abbey is a working abbey in a no-nonsense style yet warm, hospitable and kind. Spiritual guidance is available and the church is open to all religious persuasions, including with the beautiful Icon crypt, designed as a portal to the cosmos. The abbey itself follows a rigorous schedule of prayers, service and devotion combined with domestic life and constant visitors. There is a magnificent arboretum with ancient specimen trees, one of the few remaining parts of the primeval forest which once covered all of Ireland.
The 17th century tiered walled garden, has been restored and a garden planted with biblical herbs and flowers introduced. It overlooks an ornamental lake with of course plenty of quiet places to sit and ponder, or just breathe in the unique peace to found in this sacred place....
10 Other things to do and see near Glenstal Abbey are...
1 The Glen of Aherlow a very scenic drive through the Galtee Mountains.
2 The Rock of Cashel one Irelands greatest historical sites, St Patrick baptised King Aengus and his brothers here in 450 and Brian Boru was crowned King of Munster here.
3 The Cashel Palace Hotel stay at this former archbishop's residence, affordable splendour.
4 Bishops Buttery Restaurant same hotel, excellent food, perfect after a hards days sight seeing.
5 Holy Cross Abbey Eleanor of Aquitaine was so grateful to the Monks who buried her son here, that she donated a relic of the true cross that her husband King Richard may have brought back from the Holyland.
6 Swiss cottage Cahir, a delightful thatched cottage confection built in the 1800's for Richard Butler the Earl of Glengall.
7 Cahir Craft Granary a collective of local craftspeople under one roof, that of an old linen factory in the centre of town.
8 River House Restaurant bright and airy good lunch time venue with carvery specials at lunchtime.
9 Cahir Castle well it's not like you are going to miss it, if you are having lunch at the above!
10 Mitchelstown Caves see the 'Tower of Babel' limestone formation amongst other wierd and wonderful calcite deposits.