The ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy

Urgent works at Grey Abbey
We have been advised by the Department for Communities that parts of the historic site at Grey Abbey may be cordoned off to ensure safety during essential maintenance works. The works are mainly concerned with conserving the site and ensuring it continues to be a safe place to visit and enjoyed for generations.

The conservation requirements have been identified through condition surveys and site assessments, which are part of the routine management of the historic structures and visitor safety at the site. These are supported by specialist surveys and recommendations and works will be undertaken by conservation specialists. For further information check Department for Communities website.

Grey Abbey is still open to visitors
(No unaccompanied children under the age of 16yrs)

Friends of the Abbey volunteers may be present on Saturdays and Sundays and at other times by appointment, contact:

Grey Abbey history

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. 

Find out more about the heritage of Greyabbey Village and download the Greyabbey Village Heritage Trail Flyer (PDF)

Visitor Information

There is a small visitor’s centre with displays and a reconstructed ‘medieval’ physic garden. (Visitor Centre is currently closed - updated Tuesday 4 August)

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.

Opening Times

  • Mon – Sun, 10am – dusk.


  • Free

Contact Details

  • Address Grey Abbey Church Street Greyabbey Down BT22 2NQ
  • Telephone 028 9082 3207
  • Email Visit Grey Abbey
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