Jerpoint Abbey Highlights (4)
Jerpoint’s outstanding feature is the fifteenth-century cloister arcade, which hosts a unique array of carved images. They include a series of standing sculpted stones depicting saints, animals and secular figures. St Anthony with a pig at his feet, a Butler knight and his wife with a monkey by her elbow and various mythical beasts are just some of the incredible carvings you will find here.
Some magnificent stone furnishings cement Jerpoint’s status as one of the best-preserved medieval abbeys in Ireland. The south wall of the twelfth-century chancel contains an aumbry and sedilia with chevron designs. The aumbry was a storage area for the chalice and patten, while the triple sedilia provided an elegant place for officiating clergy to sit. Beneath the east window lies an original limestone altar slab, simply decorated with Maltese crosses.
The east range consists of a sequence of rooms, mostly used for the administration of the abbey. Today these rooms exhibit an impressive range of stone carvings.
Make sure you see the four large coats of arms painted on the north wall of the chancel. These beautiful shields, representing some of the abbey’s benefactors, depict symbols such as scalloped shells, wild boars, discs and ermines. They offer a privileged glimpse into fifteenth-century heraldic tradition and are well worth seeing.
Don’t miss the two exquisite examples of late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century decorated mensa tombs in the north transepts of the abbey. These tombs offer superb representations of European saints and the Apostles. They were sculpted by the famous O’Tunney’s of Callan.