St Thomas Abbey image
St Thomas Abbey

Abbey of St Thomas the Martyr Brought to Life


Life, Love The Liberties

History of Dublin’s lost abbey to be revealed with two-day celebratory events

The fascinating history of one of Dublin’s major medieval abbeys is set to be revealed with a two-day celebration taking place in Dublin Friday, 13th October and Saturday, 14th October.

On Friday, 13th October, a pageant of local Dublin 8 schoolchildren dressed in medieval garb and carrying standards, flanked by two horsemen in full armour, will parade through the streets of the Liberties accompanied by music from the 12th century to bring the history of the Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr to life.

The Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr was originally founded in 1177 on the orders of King Henry II as atonement for the death of Thomas Becket, and was located just outside the medieval walls of Dublin. The abbey went on to play a pivotal role in the religious and political affairs of the city until its eventual dissolution in 1539. While no trace of the abbey remains above ground today, it had a lasting impact on the city of Dublin and it lends its name to modern-day Thomas Street.

Dublin City Council’s South Central Office and the Dublin City Archaeologist have been unravelling the mysteries of the abbey to raise awareness of this important medieval ecclesiastical foundation.

As well the children’s pageant, on Saturday, 14th October there will be a day-long conference on the history of the Abbey. Taking place from 9.30am to 5pm in St. Catherine’s Church, Thomas Street, Dublin 8, the conference will explore topics including:

  • The archaeological finds at Thomas Street, which led to the wider discovery of the Abbey;
  • The Abbey’s relationship with the city of Dublin – the Abbey was responsible for the maintenance of the watercourse of the city;
  • Everyday life in medieval Dublin.
  • The wider importance of the Abbey outside of Ireland.

The conference is free and open to the public, but advance booking is required. Further information and registration is available here:

Commenting in advance of the events, Bruce Phillips, Area Manager for Dublin City Council’s South Central Area, said: “The Abbey of St. Thomas the Martyr was one of the most important ecclesiastical foundations in medieval Ireland, and it had a major influence on Dublin, in particular on The Liberties area. The existence of the abbey and its fascinating history has only recently been discovered. There is no visible trace of the Abbey left, so in October we’re hoping to bring the sights and sounds of the Abbey to life and raise awareness among Dublin locals and the wider public of the untold history that’s on their doorstep.”

Further information on the events and the Abbey itself can be found on Facebook here:

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