Jerpoint Abbey is a ruined Cistercian abbey, founded in the second half of the 12th century, near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. It was constructed in 1180, probably on the site of an earlier Benedictine monastery built in 1160 by Domnall Mac Gilla Patraic, King of Osraige. Jerpoint is notable for its stone carvings, including one at the tomb of Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory when the abbey was founded.
The abbey passed into the possession of James, Earl of Ormand, in 1541 and has been a national monument and has been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1880. Close to Jerpoint Abbey, at Newtown Jerpoint, are the ruins of a church where a local legend places the grave of Saint Nicholas!
The most remarkable part is a reconstructed 15th Century sculptured cloister arcade with carvings on the faces of the pillars that depict knights in splendid armour, courtly damsels, clerics, grotesques, and even a man with a stomach-ache. These carvings are believed to echo the drawings found on medieval manuscripts. Many of the capitals and bases are also carved. It is certainly worth taking the time walking around the cloister arcade. Some tomb chests are decorated with beautifully carved weepers.
Medieval abbeys are amazingly beautiful even in their ruined state. It is impossible to imagine people with no modern tools and machinery building such magnificent structures that have lasted hundreds of years.