Sunday 31 March 2024

Easter Message 2024 - Diocese of Killaloe

Quin Abbey, this sacred place in which we celebrate Dawn Mass on this Easter morning was built for two friars of the Franciscan order over 500 years ago.

Early Monastic Site

A far earlier monastery had existed on this site but was burned down in 1278.

Norman Castle

A Norman castle was built soon after.  Around 1350 the castle, by then a ruin, was rebuilt as a church by the MacNamara Clan.

Present Abbey

The present abbey or friary was rebuilt by the Macnamaras in the early 1400’s.


In 1541, during the Reformation, King Henry VIII confiscated the friary and it passed into the hands of Conor O’Brian, Earl of Thomond.

Return Again!

In about 1590 the MacNamaras regained control of the site and once again set about repairing and restoring it. The monastery was repaired by 1604.

Glory Days

In about 1640 the building became a college and is alleged to have had 800 students, the golden period of the Abbey, the glory days, so to speak.

Cromwellian Invasion

Oliver Cromwell arrived only 10 years later, killing the friars and destroying the friary. In 1671 the building was once again restored, but never regained its former status.

Historical Observation

In 1740 Bishop Pococke a man famous for his historical travels around Ireland and England sums up the place in the following words: “Quin is one of the finest and most entire monasteries that I have seen in Ireland.”  As late as 1808 the monastery was reported to be in much the same condition as Pococke had found it.

In 1760 the friars were ultimately expelled, although the last Friar, John Hogan, remained there until his death in 1820, by which time the buildings were ruined by neglect.

Historical and Religious Significance

The friary, with intact cloister, and many other surviving architectural features make the friary of significant historical and religious value.  We marvel and get our minds around the depth of history contained in the walls here.  If only they could speak, what interesting tales they would have to tell!

State and Community Care

We are so grateful to the OPW for the work of preservation and conservation here and for the permission to celebrate Dawn Mass here this Easter morning. Sincere thanks also for the trojan work of the local community who have meticulously facilitated this gathering not just this year, but last as well.

Absorbing the Faith Significance on this Easter Day

Let us absorb on this Easter morning the echoes and resonances of Christianity that reside in the walls and cracks in the stones of this sacred place.  From that abbreviated history we see it has been a place not only of serene religious celebration but also a place of strife, suffering and challenge.  That is the story of the last few days of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.  During these days we have commemorated the journey of the cross of Jesus towards his redemptive suffering and death.

Easter a message of endurcance and Hope

Easter however is a happy message of endurance, of victory of survival.  Just like this Abbey that refuses to die – so too the Easter message is a message of victory of light over darkness, grace over sin, life over death.  Whatever challenges and sufferings you might have they are given meaning, context and fresh hope for endurance and perseverance, no matter what.

Easter Blessings

We rejoice that we are Easter people, Resurrection people, enjoying the great hope that the benefits of Christ’s redemptive victory is part of our Lot.  Tá Mac na hÓighe slán!  He has risen from the dead as he said he would.  We rejoice and are Glad.  Happy Easter Sunday morning to you all in this most special and sacred of locations.