This hidden tourist destination in County Westmeath, Ireland is well worth a visit.

The island of Ireland is packed full of wonderful places to visit. Of course most visitors do not venture off the beaten track, visiting the most popular attractions like the The Guinness Brewery, The Cliffs of Moher or the Blarney Stone. However, it is on the road less traveled where you are most likely to discover the magic and beauty of our beautiful country.

fore abbey, Ireland
A view of the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey at Fore on a sunny day.

One such place is the Abbey at Fore in County Westmeath. If you are fortunate to visit the Abbey at Fore on a sunny day, you will be rewarded with a wonderful and unexpected experience. Nestled in a verdant valley surrounded by wooded hills are a number of monastic buildings, some of which stretch back to the early days of Christianity in Ireland. Among the remains, visitors can see St Fechin’s church, built about 900. They will also find one of the 18 Fore crosses, which are spread out on roadways and in fields around the Abbey.


wishing tree by a holy well in Ireland.
The hawthorn tree by the holy well.

The name Fore comes from the Irish word Fobhair meaning ‘water-springs’. The valley was first settled by Saint Fechin in the seventy century. The monastery became a great center of learning where, it is said, up to 2,000 monks studied at one time. During Viking times, the monastery was attacked and burned many times. After the Norman conquest, a Benedictine Priory was founded in the 13th century by Hugh de Lacy the Norman Lord of Meath.


A view of fore towards St Fechin’s church from the ramparts of the Benedictine Abbey.
A view of fore towards St Fechin’s church from the ramparts of the Benedictine Abbey.

Fore is famous in history and folklore for its seven wonders. The Seven Wonders of Fore are; the monastery in the bog, the mill without a race, the water that flows uphill, the tree that won’t burn, the water that won’t boil, the anchorite in a stone and the lintel stone raised by St Fechin’s prayers.


holy tree in Ireland
Coins are hammered into the holy tree as votive offerings to bring good luck.

The Celtic monastic tradition of learning and craft lead to a flourishing legacy of Celtic Art in the middle ages. Our Celtic shield range of Celtic wedding rings capture the beauty of these forgotten craftspeople.

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