The ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy
Grey Abbey, Greyabbey, Montgomery, John de Courcey, physic garden
Update Friday 11 June 2021 - Grey Abbey will reopen on Monday 14 June
Abbey gates will re-open on Monday 14 June following essential maintenance works. Volunteers will be on duty every weekend afternoon from 19 June onward
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)
Guided tours dates to be confirmed, keep checking the website
The Visitor Centre will remain closed at present.
There is a small visitor’s centre with displays and a reconstructed ‘medieval’ physic garden. (Visitor Centre is currently closed - updated Friday 23 April 2021)
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.