Tintern Abbey, A history

banner image of the lush greenery of the garden

Tucked away behind the historic remains of Tintern Abbey, County Wexford, in Irelands Ancient East, is the secluded Colclough Walled Garden, a Georgian walled garden which was built by the Colclough family (pronounced Coke-lee) before 1814. Wexford’s long and tapering Hook Peninsula is the heartland of the Norman landings which date to 1169-71 and Colclough Walled Garden is a short distance from the beaches of Bannow Island and Baginbun where they landed.

The Abbey now a National Monument, was founded by Cistercian White Monks, white referring to the colour of the “cuccula” or white choir robe worn by the Cistercians over their habits, from Tintern Abbey in Wales around the year 1200 under the patronage of William Marshal who was described as “The Greatest knight who ever lived”. William was married to Isabel, Strongbow’s Daughter and King Diarmuid Mac Murrough’s Granddaughter from whom she had inherited huge tracts of land in Leinster. William Marshal was a famous historical character, a Crusader of the Holy Land, a Knight Templar, a signatory of the Magna Carta and Prince regent to the Young King Henry III.

William also built the nearby Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operational lighthouse in the world, which is situated at the tip of the Peninsula. The venerable Abbey and Lighthouse both came about as a result of William’s first-hand experience of the treacherous seas along the Peninsula. The story is told of how William was almost shipwrecked on one of his many crossings to Ireland and only survived after making a vow to build an abbey wherever he landed safely. The lighthouse was subsequently built to warn fellow seafarers of the dangerous waters surrounding the Hook. We now call Tintern de Vota (Tintern of the Vow) Tintern Abbey where the Cistercian White Monks prayed for the souls of William and his descendants for over 400 years.