Dunmore Abbey

Dunmore Abbey

“Is six miles north of Tuam, in the town of the same name. Tradition ascribes construction to the lords of Athenry. An early religious foundation was made here, as it is said, by St Patrick, which was called Domhnach Phádraig, and St. Fulartach was appointed bishop of it. Walter de Bermingham, Lord of Athenry constructed a friary of Austin hermits on the site of the old abbey, in the year 1425” 1 This reference to the Fulartach and Domhnach Phádraig is disputed and may refer to Donnahgpatrick, Headford. The Augustinians were on in the name and dates associated with them pre 1425: James O’Hurgain, Rector (1398), Peter Letman, Peter O’Clonaigh and Najernius O’Tdura (1415). Their first home is believed to be where the nightclub is today, accross from the Bank of Ireland.

Hubert Birmingham
Dunmore Abbey, Co Galway

The date of the foundation of Dunmore Abbey is usually given as 1425. According to F.X Martin O.S.A, former Professor of Medieval History at U.C.D, this is a mistaken due to a misinterpretation of Herrera. Herrera merely stated that Dunmore was mentioned in the register of the Priors general under the year 1425. The actual entry in the register 12th December 1425 refers in passing to Dunmore priory, presupposing that it was already in existence. Dalton’s History of the Diocese of Tuam states that it was founded in 1423.

Hubert Birmingham
Dunmore Abbey, Co Galway

An Augustinian priest/historian in Ballyhaunis told me some years ago, that he found a date of 1419 as the founding date for Dunmore Abbey, during his research on Ballyhaunis Priory. Herrera in his Alphabetum Augustiniamium, Vol 1 says that particular mention is made of this convent and “that the honour and the glory of God, and salvation of souls, are prompted by the Hermits of St. Augustine, as the Catholic Church is instructed by the innumerable writings of their illustrious founder”2

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1 Francis Grose, The Antiquities of Ireland, Vol I, London 1792
2 A History of All the Abbeys, Convents, Churches and other Religious Houses of the Order, Particularity of the Hermits of St. Augustine in Ireland (1856)