The ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy
This Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster.
The Abbey is set in the landscaped parkland of the 18th Century Rosemount House; however, visitors should note that these grounds are private. Visitors are welcome to wander among the ruins and the lawns, where picnics are also permitted.
With Inch Abbey, Grey Abbey is the best example of Anglo Norman Cistercian architecture in Ulster. It is the daughter house of Holy Cultram (Cumbria). Founded in 1193 by John de Courcy’s wife, Affreca. Poor and decayed in the late Middle Ages the abbey was dissolved in 1541, but in the early 17th century was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery and the nave was refurbished for parish worship until the late 15th century. The remains in the beautiful parkland setting in the nearby grand house of Rosemount consist of the church cloister and surrounding buildings to the south.
There is a small visitor’s centre with displays and a reconstructed ‘medieval’ physic garden.
There is pedestrian and wheelchair access from the car park to the visitor centre, herb garden and abbey church. Gravel paths and grass areas may make some parts of the site inaccessible to some users.
No unaccompanied children under the age of 16.
Greyabbey is open Mon-Fri 8.30am-8pm for unmanned opening and Sat & Sun 10am-8pm when the Friends of the Abbey will be periodically manning the site. The visitor centre will only be open when the Friends of the Abbey are manning the site during the weekends.
For tour requests contact the Historic Environment Division (HED) at SCMenquiries@doeni.gov.uk for approval.