Investigating Cistercian Landscapes in the West of Ireland

Sheep at Corcomroe Abbey, the Burren of Co. Clare

The Cistercians, one of the most successful monastic orders of the Middle Ages, had an extraordinary cultural, economic and environmental influence on the places where they settled.

My project focuses on the relationship between Cistercian estates and the landscapes where they were laid out. It examines the historical landscape contexts of four significant Cistercian houses at Assaroe (Donegal), Boyle (Roscommon), Abbeyknockmoy (Galway) and Corcomroe (Clare), founded in the West of Ireland during the twelfth century.

I will investigate the role of political boundaries, natural environment and pre-Cistercian settlements in the choice of locations for the Cistercian foundations, and the extent to which the Cistercians incorporated and transformed landscapes. Ultimately, a comparative analysis of these foundations should inform their relationship with local landscape according to Cistercian ideals and local realities.

Silvina Martin (international student)

Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar

Supervised by Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick

 Silvina Martin, Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar, International Student