Bective Abbey overlooks the picturesque River Boyne and is a 15 minute drive from Navan in County Meath.

Highlights of the abbey include an early 13th century church, 15th century cloister and 16th century tower that are under state care. The site in its entirety is named a protected structure and National Monument.

In 1995 Bective Abbey was used as a location for the movie Braveheart featuring Mel Gibson.

Founded in 1147 by the King of Meath, Murchadh O’ Melaghin, Bective Abbey was Ireland’s second Cistercian abbey and one of the most important monastic settlements. Its Abbot sat in the Parliament of the Pale.

Additionally, Hugh De Lacy, Lord of Meath, was buried there in 1195 following his murder in Durrow. However, he was eventually moved to Dublin.

The abbey was suppressed in 1536 under Henry VIII and was passed from owner to owner until eventually falling into ruin.

The chief features of the ruins are the combination of both Church and Defence. The Cloister is the best preserved of the buildings and there is a pillar of a figure carrying a crozier.

There are also some beautiful arches which are still intact.

Bective Abbey is 15 mins from Trim off the R161 (Navan Road).

The author: Nick Fitzgerald