Bangor Abbey

Bangor Abbey

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Bangor Abbey was established by Saint Comgall
Saint Comgall
Saint Comgall, an early Irish saint, was the founder and abbot of the great Irish monastery at Bangor , who flourished in the sixth century.-Life:...

 in 558 in Bangor, County Down
Bangor, County Down
Bangor is a large town in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is a seaside resort on the southern side of Belfast Lough and within the Belfast Metropolitan Area. Bangor Marina is one of the largest in Ireland, and holds Blue Flag status...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and was famous for its learning and austere rule. It is not to be confused with the even older abbey in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 on the site of Bangor Cathedral
Bangor Cathedral
Bangor Cathedral is an ancient place of Christian worship situated in Bangor, Gwynedd, north-west Wales. It is dedicated to its founder, Saint Deiniol....

. Bangor Abbey was a centre of learning which trained missionaries in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. It used to be called the "Light of the World". It was from here that St. Columbanus
Columbanus
Columbanus was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil and Bobbio , and stands as an exemplar of Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.He spread among the...

 set out on his famous missionary journey to Europe.

Little remained of the original abbey after repeated attacks by the Danes, who destroyed it in 824. It was restored by Saint Malachy
Saint Malachy
Saint Malachy was the Archbishop of Armagh, to whom were attributed several miracles and a vision of the identity of the last 112 Popes...

 in the 12th century, given to the Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s in 1469, and to the Augustinians
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

 a century later. It was finally dissolved under James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

.

The present Tower of the Abbey dates back to the 14th century.

Sir James Hamilton
James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Claneboye
James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Claneboye was a Scot who became owner of large tracts of land in County Down, Ireland, and founded a successful Protestant Scots settlement there several years before the Plantation of Ulster...

 repaired the church in 1617 and was buried in it when he died in 1644.

A mural in the church is of Christ ascending to heaven with Saints Comgall, Gall
Saint Gall
Saint Gall, Gallen, or Gallus was an Irish disciple and one of the traditionally twelve companions of Saint Columbanus on his mission from Ireland to the continent. Saint Deicolus is called an older brother of Gall.-Biography:...

 and Columbanus at his feet.

See also

  • Abbeys and priories in Northern Ireland (County Down)

External links