Bective Abbey was Ireland’s second Cistercian abbey, established after Mellifont Abbey in 1147 by the King of Meath. It was one of the country’s most important monastic settlements, as its abbot sat in the Parliament of the Pale. In 1195 the headless body of Hugh de Lacy was reinterred at the Abbey, his head going to St. Thomas’ Abbey, Dublin. the head and body were later reunited and reinterred in St. Thomas’ in Dublin.
After Henry VIII’s suppression in 1543 the Abbey was made into a manor house handed over to civil servants in reward for their loyal work. The earliest remaining stone work dates from 1274 and includes five bays of the south arcade. Also remaining are the claustral and conventual buildings that were reconstructed in the 15th Century. Fortunately the cloisters are beautifully preserved and include a fantastic carved pillar of an Abbot with a crozier kneeling on one of the cloister pillars. Beacuse the structure looked so like a castle it and the nearby Trim Castle were used as locations in teh movie Braveheart.