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The name given by the Cistercians, Kyrie Eleison (from Greek: Lord Have Mercy) was in accordance with the order's tradition of giving names which reflected the locality - in this instance the word Kyrie (Lord) being similar to Ciarrai (County Kerry).
The first abbot was Christian O Conarchy who retired to the abbey where he spent his remaining years, being buried there in 1186.
A subsequent abbot was deposed in 1227 after being involved in the Conspiracy of Mellifont.
The foundation was dissolved in 1537.
The remains visible today include the 15th century abbey church with west tower and some of the claustral buildings. The grounds are largely occupied by gravestones and are currently in use as a cemetery.