Selskar Abbey is a ruined twelfth-century abbey in the town of Wexford. It was August 1st House whose real name was the Priory of St. Peter and St. Paul. The survivors are the ruins of the abbey founded around 1190 by Alexander de la Roche, ancestor of the Roche family, who holds the title of Baron Fermoy. [1]

There was an earlier church on the site: it was there in 1169 that Dermot MacMurrough signed the first Anglo-Irish peace treaty. [2] The leading Norman commander Raymond FitzGerald, nicknamed Le Gros and his wife Basila de Clare, sister of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, nicknamedStrongbow , said to have been married there in 1174th

There is a long tradition that Henry II spent Lent of 1172 on Selskar Abbey, where he did penance for the murder of Thomas Becket. It is unclear how much truth there is in the story, although it is true that Henry was in Ireland at the time, and that Becket’s murder, some fifteen months earlier, was still the subject of great controversy.

We have a glimpse of the convent’s inner life through a letter that John Topcliffe, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland addressed to Henry VIII in about 1512. He complained that the monks as “time out of mind” had chosen their own Prior, had chosen a “good blessed religious man” who, Prior, but the abbot had turned him out. [3] it is unclear why the Chief Justice, an Englishman without local support, was so concerned about the deal, nor why he thought that the king would be interested. King’s response if someone is not registered.

The Abbey was suppressed in 1542 and given to John Parker, the Master of the Rolls in Ireland. [4] It passed later to the Stafford family. The Abbey was reportedly fired by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1649. [5]

Selskar Abbey is now a part of the Westgate Heritage Tower; it back to the public in July 2012. [6]


  1. Jump up ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal 1862 Vol. 1 No. 22
  2. Jump up ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal
  3. Jump up ^ Ball, F. Elrington judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.1 pp. 212-3
  4. Jump up ^ Ball, p.205
  5. Jump up ^ Illustrated Dublin Journal
  6. Jump up ^ Wexford People July 11, 2012