Tintern Abbey - the Other Tintern in Ireland

Tintern Abbey - Co. Wexford, Ireland
It was on July 13th in 1798 that William Wordsworth began to write the poem, Tintern Abbey. He later wrote that  "... No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant ..."  He was, of course, writing about the famous Tintern Abbey in Wales on the River Wye, founded by the Cistercians in 1131.  The ruins of that abbey in Wales remain, surrounded by parkland.  It's a very thin place.

But there is another Tintern Abbey and it, too is a magical place.  It is located in County Wexford, and was once the most powerful Cistercian house in the south east of Ireland.  It also lay in ruins today, but there is a remarkable restoration effort going on to shore up walls and create a spiritual public place.

Tintern Abbey - Co. Wexford, Ireland

I stumbled onto to Tintern Abbey in Wexford simply because I saw it labeled on the road map. I had been to the one in Wales, and was curious.  There was nothing about this Wexford Tintern Abbey in the guidebooks.  So on a gloomy February day I drove onto the abbey property at dusk.  The ruins rose out of the landscape with such glory, that it gave me chills.

The earth energy of Tintern is vibrant.

The abbey was founded by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (Wales).  Marshal had been named Earl of Leinster and in 1200 he set out on his first visit to Ireland.  His ship was wrecked.  He cried out to God for rescue, and made a promise that he would found a monastery where ever he safely landed.

He washed up on Bannow Bay in Wexford and made good on his promise.  He donated 9000 acres of land to the Cistercians for a monastery.  He brought monks from Tintern Abbey in Wales (he was also a patron of that abbey) to colonize the monastic settlement.  This new abbey in Ireland was named "Tintern" after the abbey in Wales.

It is sometimes referred to as Tintern de Voto which means "Tintern of the Vow."

These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love

 Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth