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Ardfert Abbey
Mainistir Ard Fhearta
Ruins of the abbey church
Ardfert Abbey is located in Ireland
Ardfert Abbey
Location in Ireland
Monastery information
Other names Ard-ferta-brenainn; Hertfert; Hyferte; Ifert
Order Order of Friars Minor Conventual
Established c. 1253
Disestablished 1580
Diocese Ardfert and Aghadoe
Founder(s) Thomas Fitzmaurice, 1st Baron Kerry
Status Inactive
Style Late Gothic
Location Ardfert, County Kerry
Coordinates 52°19′49″N 9°46′26″W / 52.330162°N 9.773831°W / 52.330162; -9.773831
Visible remains choir, nave, cloister, dormitory
Public access yes
National Monument of Ireland
Official name Ardfert Abbey
Reference no. 358

Ardfert Abbey is a medieval Franciscan friary and National Monument located in County Kerry, Ireland.


Ardfert Abbey is located in the east part of Ardfert village.


It is thought that Ardfert was the original site of the monastery founded by Saint Brendan, which burned down c. 1089.

Ardfert Friary was founded for the Order of Friars Minor Conventual c. 1253 by Thomas Fitzmaurice, 1st Baron Kerry; he was purportedly buried here c. 1280–1.

In 1310 a disagreement with the Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadoe Nicol Ó Samradáin led to some friars suffering violent beatings.

A residential tower was added to the west end of the church in the 15th century.

It was refounded in 1517 for the Observant Franciscan Friars and finally dissolved in 1584; Col. John Zouche turned it into a barracks. Some friars remained in the area. In 1590 it belonged to James FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond.

In 1636 the friary was absorbed into the estate of the Earls of Glandore (Crosbie family).

In 1670 the 15th-century window of the church was moved to Ardfert Cathedral; it was returned to the friary in 1815.


The layout of the building follows the standard layout of most Franciscan friaries: a large church, cloister and residential offices.

The church is a long nave and chancel. A residential tower was added to the west end in the 15th century. It contains five floors, some with window seats and garderobes.

There is a thirteenth-century window divided into five lights at the east gable which would have lit up the choir. There are also nine lancet windows in the south wall; the design appears to be copied from Ardfert Cathedral.

Below the nine south windows there are 5 niche tombs added in the later centuries.

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