Black Abbey Monestry in Kilkenny

Black Abbey in Kilkenny

The Dominican Black Abbey in Kilkenny was founded in 1225 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. The church has since been beautifully restored to its original splendour with a spectacular coloured stained glass window.

The Black Abbey was part of the Dominican Priory and derived its name from the Black Friars, as the Dominicans were called. The Black Abbey is the longest established of all Irish foundations. However, today the friars and the BI Peter O Higgins Lay Dominican Chapter assigned here are engaged in traditional apostolates, particularly liturgical preaching and sacramental services. The public celebration and service is a daily event in which visitors to the abbey are encouraged to participate in.

Location: Black Abbey, Friars Bridge, Kilkenny.

Situated a short stroll from Kilkenny city centre and the Medieval Mile.


When the Dominicans settled in Kilkenny in 1225, they chose a plot on the south bank of the Bregach and while this choice may show their impartiality, it is also an example of their preference for sites outside the city gates. Then as now, there was much to be said for freedom of movement. The new church was dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Little remains of the early church save the lower part of an ancient tower (predating the church), the old nave and its aisle, and the 13th century Norman tombstones uncovered nearby. Probably in the early decades of the 14thcentury the present transept was built. The glory of the Black Abbey lies in its windows: five (of which one was removed before 1791) in the east wall, each having three lights, and the magnificent five-light window, the largest of its kind in the country, which practically fills the gable wall. These windows, which in technical terms belong to the curvilinear phase of the Decorated style, have been classed as the last major work done in Ireland during the first half of the 14thcentury. No structural alterations seem to have been made at the Black Abbey between the terrible year of the plague (1349) and the end of the 15th century, but something may have been done to improve the priory building, and more likely still to improve the interior decoration of the church. At all events, there are still two carved figures associated with the church which belong to this particular period.


Service Times

Monday to Sunday

  • Masses: 10.30am & 1.05pm
  • Rosary: 10.15am
  • Adoration: 11am – 1pm
  • Divine Office: 9.50am & 6.45pm
  • Confession: 10.15am

Sunday Mass Times

  • 6.10pm Saturday Vigil
  • 9am
  • 12pm
  • 6pm
  • Confession: Saturday 12pm & 6.45pm