Inch Abbey - DownPatrick, N. Ireland

inch abby, down patrick northern ireland
My husband's family is from Northern Ireland, and many of his relatives still live there. This image was taken years ago when we were just dating. I traveled with him to meet the family for the first time. They were very welcoming and hospitable, and showed us around to many of the historically significant sites near Downpatrick where the majority of his Irish relatives live.

This is Inch Abby, the ruins of a Cistercian abby built in the 1100's. Although it lies in ruins today, it's architecture is still impressive. Gothic arches are juxtaposed with rustic walls of uncut stone. It's always fascinating to walk in a place where people lived and worked centuries ago. In this case, the site was home to English monks until the 1500's. I was surprised to learn that although the it's located in Northern Ireland, the Abby did not accept Irish monks into the monastery.