Quin Abbey. – Co. of Clare

Artist(s) : Louis Haghe (Lithographer), William Day (Lithographer)

View of the Franciscan Priory at Quin, Co. Clare, by the river Rine, seen from the west. The abbey is depicted in a state of delapidation and somewhat overgrown with ivy, but with several architectural features clearly shown, most notably its high tower and the tracery of a fine gothic window. In front of the building, a religious ceremony is in progress; many of those present are kneeling. Other men, women and children are seen approaching along a road in the foreground leading to the abbey, and from the right. A thatched cottage in poor condition stands on the riverbank, to the left. The surrounding countryside is bare, with hills and low mountains in the background.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – Quin Abbey. - Co. of Clare.
  • Text outside of boundaries of image – Day & Haghe Lithrs. to the Queen
    London, Saunders & Otley, 1839.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture, Manners and customs, Rural life
Geographical Location
  • Quin Abbey - Named locality
  • Clare - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Buildings, Children, Churches, Cottages, Crowds, Funeral processions, Hills, Men, Mountains, People, Prayer, Rivers, Ruins, Towers, Windows, Women
Colour Monochrome
Published / created 1839

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Rambles in the South of Ireland
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy Vol. 2, facing p. 185
Source copy James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway Special Collections: 914.190481 CHA

Related text from travel account

On Monday we came here, making a detour to visit the ruins of Quin Abbey. It stands in a
green plain near the clear river. The cloisters
 resemble those of Askeaton, and are in as good
 preservation; indeed the whole building, except
 the roof, is entire. Most of the chimney-pieces remain; and a peasant woman, who came
 up to speak to me as I was examining an old
 monument, said that her grandmother remembered when it was all perfect. I looked on 
these cloisters with great interest, as the place
 where the monk who composed those beautiful
 lines to Lady O'Brien, was wont to meditate and
While we were in the abbey, the funeral procession of a young girl entered the ruined building, and, as is always the case in Ireland, 
several groups dispersed themselves in various
 directions, each to weep over the grave of their 
own friends. I remarked one girl particularly,
 who knelt at a tomb which, from its grass-grown
 appearance, seemed to have been there a long
 time; she must have been quite young when [p. 186] she lost the friend or relative who reposed in it; but the expression of solemn concern on her
 countenance showed how deeply she still revered 
the memory of that departed one. The prayer thus offered up at the grave of a long lost friend, 
must have a beneficial effect on the character, 
and I cannot but feel a respect for a custom so 
calculated to do good.

I was struck with the extreme civility and
 kindly feeling towards us strangers, of the people who attended this funeral. They seemed
 highly flattered at our appearing to admire the
 ruins; and one woman regretted, with tears in 
her eyes, that the pavement of the cloisters was 
so rugged for my “little feet;” she looked as if
 she longed to carry me over the rough places,
 and watched with the greatest anxiety to see that I did not step on loose stones. When
 we talked of ascending the high tower of the 
chapel, some of the women seemed frightened
 at the idea of a lady’s venturing up broken stairs
 and along the top of narrow walls, at that dizzy 
height; but when they saw that I was resolved
 to proceed, my friend of the cloisters said she
 would go up with me, though she had never ventured before. This and other marks of interest [p. 187] and civility, which we met with then, could
 not proceed from desire of gain, for none of the 
poor people would take money. One tattered old
 man to whom we offered a trifle, said, when declining it for himself, that he would be glad if their 
honours would give something to the mother of
 the poor young girl who lay in the coffin, as 
she had in a few weeks lost a husband, a son,
 and this daughter, and was left with six young 
children to provide for, and another coming.

This young girl, owing to the deaths and 
illness in the family, had no relations at the 
funeral, yet many tears of genuine sorrow were shed over her grave by this warm-hearted people; and though in this case there could not be the usual attraction of merriment and 
good cheer at the cottage of the deceased, the
 procession was crowded. And a beautiful and
 strange scene it was to see this crowd—the men 
in their sober attire, and the women in the 
brilliant coloured dresses they wear in this
 part of the country, scattered over the green
sward before the venerable ruins of the old
 abbey. Not one bonnet was there: all the
 women wore either their own dark hair dressed 
in the simple Grecian fashion, or the head [p. 188] covered with a sort of white linen veil, or bright
 coloured handkerchief, or the hood of the red or blue cloak, which forms an invariable part of 
their costume.

At a cottage, in the village of Quin, we were 
amused at seeing the following sign over the 

“Here lives a man who don't refuse
To make or mend both boots and shoes;
His leather's good, his work is quick,

His profits small—so can't give tick."

This sign, however, is not so concise and expressive as one I have seen at Limerick, over the 
door of an eating-house.

"Fat and lean

Neat and clean,"

told the whole tale of what might be expected within. [Vol. 2, p. 185-188] [Continues on topic of signs].
Quin Abbey. – Co. of Clare