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St. Katherine's Abbey, Monisternagalliaghduff

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Saint Katherine's Abbey, Monisternagalliaghduff (Manisternagalliaghduff) is a former Augustinian nunnery founded in 1298 and dissolved in 1541.

One of the earliest recorded nunneries in Ireland, it is located in a valley about 2 miles east of the village of Shanagolden, County Limerick.

Remains include abbey church to the east of the cloister and refectory to the south. Modifications to the church in the 15th Century saw the inclusion of an east window in the church as well as a doorway in the north.

Two legends relate to the Abbey:

  • Prior to the dissolution it was said that the last abbess practiced witchcraft in a room to the south of the church which is now called 'The Black Hag's Cell'. This legend was probably propaganda in furtherance of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
  • The second legend relates that while the Earl and Countess of Desmond were escaping the nunnery the Countess was wounded by an arrow. The attack was so serious that the Earl believed his wife to have died and had her buried beneath the altar in the main chapel. However she subsequently awoke to find herself buried alive and her screams are said to echo through the ruins to this day.

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