DUNBRODY ABBEY, County Wexford : Hervey de Montmorency, one of the ablest and most sanguinary of the lieutenants of the bold Anglo-Norman adventurer, Strongbow, founded Dunbrody Abbey, in the year 1182, for the Cistercian friars, and, it is said, became, himself, its first abbot. Giraldus Cambrensis paints the character of Hervey in striking colors. He was brave to excess, as, indeed, were all the Normans of that period, but cruel to intensity. While Maurice Fitz-Gerald, Meyler Fitz-Henry, natural sun of Henry II., according to tradition — Raymond Le Gros — ancestor of the Irish Graces – and even Strongbow himself, were more or less disinclined to commit wholesale murder on the inhabitants of the Dano-Irish cities they captured, Hervey was merciless. The memory of his crimes, as he grew older, may have troubled his conscience and led him to renounce the world; but Irish annalists claim that he founded the Abbey, shown in the picture, after Strongbow, who left him in command in Ireland, while he went to England to offer homage and his Irish conquests to Henry II., had degraded him from his post and otherwise insulted him. Notwithstanding the ruthless hands of vandals and despoilers, the venerable ruin still shows many traces of ancient splendor. Its western doorway and window are the admiration of all lovers of the Norman-Gothic style of church architecture.
(Photo and text from “Ireland in Pictures”, published by J.S. Hyland & Co., Chicago c1900)
Dunbrody Abbey as it appears recently, including a photo from a very similar viewpoint as the c1900 photo above. Thanks to Neil for the Photos.