The Abbeys of Kildare

Three new religious foundations were established in and around Kildare town in the 13th. century. The ruins of these foundations are locally called "abbeys" and are named after the colour of the habits worn in medieval times by the monks of the foundations.

On the Athy road, 1 kilometre from the town centre.

A Franciscan foundation, it is named after the grey habits worn by the order in medieval times. Founded between 1254 and 1260, it was endowed by the powerful Fitzgerald family. A number of the Earls of Kildare are buried there. The friary was suppressed in 1539.
Now in ruins and in a dangerous condition.


On the west of the town, kilometre from the town centre.

A Carmelite foundation named after the white Carmelite habits. Founded in 1292, it had a school with a famous teacher - David O'Buge who was a graduate of Oxford and had taught in Germany. Suppressed in 1540 the Carmelite community was dispersed. They returned to Kildare in the 18th. century and have maintained a community here since.
There are no remains of the original foundation on the site. The present church was completed in1887. A number of sculptured stones from Grey Abbey tombs are inset in the wall on the right hand side of the sanctuary.


In the grounds of the National Stud at Tully about 2 kilometres from the town.

A preceptory of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem who wore black habits. It was founded in the late 13th. or early 14th. century. Little is known of the foundation, though it was important enough to have had a number of Chapters of the order held there. Also suppressed in 1538.
The ruins are set in an ancient graveyard.