Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Athenry

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A small inland town in the county Galway, Ireland, anciently called Athnere, from Ath-na-Riagh, the king's ford, or the abode of the king. It was the first town established by the Anglo-Norman invaders or Connaught, and at a remote period became a place of importance. A Dominican monastery was completed there in 1216 on a site granted by Meyler de Bermingham. In time it became extensive and wealthy and was used as the chief burial place of the Earls of Ulster and the principal families of the adjoining territory. Indulgences for the benefit of the monastery were granted by the pope in 1400. The church was burned in 1423, and in 1427 two subordinate houses were established. In 1445 Pope Eugenius IV renewed the decree of Pope Martin V to encourage the repairing of the church, at which time there were thirty inmates in the monastery. A Franciscan friary was also founded there in 1464 by Thomas, Earl of Kildare, and chapels erected by his wife and the Earls of Desmond and O'Tully. The place was sacked in 1577 during the Elizabethan wars, but repaired in 1585. The northern Irish burned the town in 1596 but the abbey escaped. The Dominican establishment was revived in 1644 as a university, the town, however, never regained its ancient prestige. The Cromwellian period ruined the ecclesiastical buildings, of which the tower and east window remained in good condition to tell of the ancient extent and beauty of the foundation. The Board of Works in 1893 made extensive repairs to the ruins to preserve them.

LEWIS, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (Dublin, 1839).

THOMAS F. MEEHAN