The Wee Abbey Clones

Clones Abbey is a ruined monastery that later became an Augustinian abbey in the twelfth century, and its main sights are ecclesiastical.

About St. Peter & Pauls Abbey

The Wee Abbey dedicated to SS Peter and Paul, in the townland of Crossmoyle, Abbey Street is a recorded monument due to its significant archaeological remains and long ecclesiastical history. It is an early Augustinian foundation, possibly before 1140 AD, and was established within the pre-existing monastic site. In 1586, Clones Abbey contained "partly thatched church, stone wall cloister, a hall, kitchen and other buildings " (in ruins) and holdings including 2000 acres of land.

The Abbey was formerly known as St. Tighernach Abbey, and was referred to locally as the "wee abbey". Parochial and monastic settlements were separated, and it seems likely that the building became the Abbey of St. Peter and Paul. 

The Town of Clones and the Abbey was founded by St. Tigernach (anglicised St. Tierney) and in the 6th century. St. Tigernach or Tierney's abbey was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. The abbey was destroyed by fire in 836, 1095, and in 1184. In 1207, Hugh de Lacy destroyed the abbey and town, but five years after they were rebuilt by the English, who also erected a castle here. The ruins of a 12th-century abbey can be found on Abbey Street, along with a sarcophagus with worn animal-head carvings reputed to have been built to house the remains of St. Tigernach, and a 9th-century truncated 22m-high round tower, which was originally about 75 ft high and had a conical cap and a well-preserved 10th-century high cross on the Diamond, decorated with drama-charged biblical stories such as Daniel in the lion's den, Abrahams sacrifice of Isaac, Adam and the tree and the serpent. On the reverse side, new testament scenes are illustrated. The multiplication of the loaves, the miracle at Cana, the baptism of Christ.

The Protestant reformation lead to the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 16th century, and the monastic settlement in Clones was destroyed. By the 17th century the abbey was a ruin, but solitary monks continued to live in the locality up until the 18th century. An English garrison was later established within the ruins.

The church is Romanesque in style and is evidence of the Roman church in Clones. The round-headed window is interesting, the head of which was cut out of a single stone. On the northern wall there is a small Celtic cross sculptured in relief on a stone.