Located on the R195 in the tiny village of Fore in County Westmeath
The Fore Abbey was believed to have begun to be built in the 1180’s and started falling to ruin in the 1300’s. Parts were re-built in the 1430’s. The last Prior was William Nugent. He surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539 who spared his life and actually granted him a pension for the rest of his days. The troops pillaged the Abbey taking anything of value and then it was pretty much left to ruin.
At one time 300 monks and more than 2,000 students (as well as local inhabitants) resided here. Today, the population of Fore is a few hundred.
St. Fechin’s Church
St. Fechin founded the monastery at Fore in 630AD. Debates go on about the actual construction date of this church. But it’s almost certain that this structure, which was built around 900AD, would have been built on an earlier structure. Notice the Sheela-na-Gig carved inside?
St. Fechin is known for performing miracles, which are known as the “7 Wonders of Fore”:
1) Monastery was built on a bog
2) Mill that had no water so St. Fechin touched it and water poured out. Mill was used as late as 1875
3) Tree that won’t burn which refers to 3 branches that represent the trinity
4) Water that won’t boil refers to the water in St. Fechin’s well
5) Anchorite in a stone refers to the Hermits who occupied the Anchorite’s cell, the last occupant dwelt here in 1616
6) Water flows uphill refers to an underground flow of water which appears to flow uphill
7) Stone raised by St. Fechin’s prayers refers to a stone above the doorway of St. Fechin’s Church that he supposedly raised