The abbey was built in 1139 for monks from Chester belonging to the Congregation of Savigny, which in 1147 joined the Cistercian order. In 1303, a great part of the abbey and church were destroyed by fire, but were re-constructed. However, many the city records in chancery stored in the abbey were destroyed. The abbey was one of the largest and richest in Ireland at that time.
In 1316 Robert de Nottingham, then mayor of Dublin, attacked the abbey where the Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh, was visiting. De Burgh was suspected of having brought Edward Bruce, who was then marching on Dublin, to Ireland. Several of de Burgh's men were killed before he was captured, and as the monks were suspected of supporting Bruce, the abbey was laid waste.
Silken Thomas started his rebellion of 1534 here, by throwing down his Sword of State.
After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the property was given over to John Travers and the church became an arsenal and part of a quarry.
The abbey was only rediscovered, 7 feet underground and underneath a bakery, in the 1880s, by an amateur archaeologist. His findings were publicized by John Thomas Gilbert.
- Gilbert, John (1854). A History of the City of Dublin. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- G. N. Wright (last modified 2005). "An Historical Guide to the City of Dublin". Online book. http://www.chaptersofdublin.com/books/Wright/wright10.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
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