The village of Timoleague is located on a sea inlet of the R600 coast road, which runs between Clonakilty and Kinsale, county Cork. It’s an attractive and scenic place. Visit the village in August to take part in the local festival of street music, sporting events, children’s activities, and other attractions and events.
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The ruins of the Fransciscan abbey dominate the village. The abbey dates from 1302 and was built on the same site as a 6th century monastic settlement of Saint Molaga. Timoleague means the “house of Molaga”, the word coming from the gaelic “Tigh Mo-Lage”. The tower part of the abbey was added in the 15th century.
The abbey quays were convenient for Spanish ships that brought wine to the monks. The abbey was sacked in 1604 by the English, who proceeded to destroy all the stained glass windows. A few years later the monks left the abbey for good. The abbey “rooms” have served as a local graveyard for many years.
The Catholic church (church of the nativity of our lady), on high ground, is in the Romanesque style. It has a triple stained glass window by the well-known Harry Clarke.
Text and photos © by Barbara Ballard