Visiting Athassel Abbey in Tipperary with Neil Jackman of Abarta Audioguides

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The Beautiful Ruins of Athassel Abbey in Tipperary. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com

The Augustinian Priory of Athassel is said to have once been the largest abbey in Ireland; an urban settlement of nearly 2000 people surrounded it. Today it remains largely forgotten, visited most often by local youths looking for a remote place to gather.

When the opportunity presents itself to join a knowledgeable local at a rarely explored historic site, you take it. (<– important travel tip!) 

When that knowledgeable local is Neil Jackman, archaeologist and executive director of Abarta Heritage, you happily trudge out in heavy rain to hear the stories he has to tell.

Like many of my Irish friends I first met Neil on twitter; I would often reply to and share his incredible photos and snippets of history.

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During our 2015 Ireland travels we crossed paths with Neil and were treated to a tour of an oft-missed ruin.

Athassel Abbey in Tipperary

The day we visited with Neil the rain was coming down in a steady, heavy drizzle, the gray skies making the grass appear more vibrantly green. I have to admit to not pulling out my large camera during our visit – all photos below were taken with my Samsung Galaxy, so I will apologize in advance for the quality.

The approach to Athassel Priory involves parking at at the edge of a narrow country intersection, hopefully out of the way of any traffic, walking down the road to a stile, and entering a field where you may walk through a herd of indifferent livestock as you watch the abbey appear before you.

Athassel Priory, Tipperary. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

The Augustinian Priory of Athassel is said to have once been the largest abbey in Ireland; an urban settlement of nearly 2000 people surrounded it. Today it remains largely forgotten, visited most often by local youths looking for a remote place to gather.

Bridge to Athassel Abbey in Tipperary. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

To reach Athassel Priory you cross this bridge. I'm always amazed by the strength and craftsmanship of stone bridges that have survived for hundreds of years.

Athassel Priory in County Tipperary is far from any tourist spot and rarely visited. Our many thanks to Neil Jackman of Abarta Audio Guides for sharing the secrets of this ruin with us. Ireland travel | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

Athassel became the final resting place for the de Burgo (aka Burke) family. More modern graves stand among ancient slabs.

Carvings at Athassel Priory, Tipperary. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

The intricate carvings reminded me quite a lot of Jerpoint Abbey in neighboring County Kilkenny.

Ruins & Markers at Athassel Priory, Tipperary. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

Hours could be spent reading the intricately carved stones and exploring the ruins of the abbey.

Neil is much better at sharing the history of Athassel Abbey on Time Travel Ireland than I would be here, so do pop over and take a look.

Though I told Neil that I thought he could lead ‘Hidden History Ireland' tours, he assured me that he's not really tour guide material (I beg to differ). But you can have the next best thing – one of his meticulously researched audio guides. Priced at €1.99 (though many are free!) Abarta Heritage audioguides are a wonderful way to take Neil's expertise along in your pocket!

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! So charming and dream like! And I love the idea of the audio guide….what a great opportunity for in-depth information and background knowledge that you might otherwise miss.

    Had a great time here last summer walking from Cashel. These ruins photograph so well, don’t they!

      That’s quite a stroll Cory- I hope you had good weather for it!
      Yes, even my phone camera in the rain couldn’t make these ruins look bad! Thanks for commenting!

    This is so beautiful! Although it’s sad that the Abbey has been somewhat abandoned, there’s something really captivating about these ruins. I’m also a big fan of audio guides when done well and these Abarta Audioguides sound great!

      Some of the most magical places are far from the tourist trail- as you well know Katja! It would have been a much different visit if we had others around us.

    Wow! This looks like the Ireland of my fantasies! Would love to get lost there with my camera some time and having an audio guide as I go would be awesome!

      I’m planning on using a few of the Abarta Audioguides this year. Really filled with so much information!

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