It was constructed in 1180, probably on the site of an earlier Benedictine monastery built in 1160 by Domnall Mac Gilla Patraic, King of Osraige. Jerpoint is notable for its stone carvings, including one at the tomb of Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory when the abbey was founded.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the abbey passed into the possession of James, Earl of Ormand, in 1541. It has been declared a national monument and has been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880. Close to Jerpoint Abbey, at Newtown Jerpoint, are the ruins of a church where a local legend places the grave of Saint Nicholas.
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