Glenstal Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks in County Limerick, Ireland, and is a place of prayer, work, education and hospitality. The monastery sits alongside a popular guesthouse and a boarding school for boys, housed within a 19th century Normanesque castle amidst five hundred magnificent acres of farmland, forest, lakes and streams.
We are a Roman Catholic monastery in the Benedictine tradition, living the Christian life together under an Abbot and the guidance of the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monastery day is centred around prayer and the monks meet for worship in the early morning, at midday, in the early evening and at the close of the day. Monks then devote significant portions of their day to private prayer and study, in addition to various works across Glenstal – in the school, in the library and guesthouse, in the workshops or around the grounds.
Glenstal was once home to the Barringtons, a wealthy family of landowners and baronets. They built the castle in the 1830’s and were well-respected by local people, eventually leaving Ireland after the tragic death of their daughter in the Irish War of Independence. The castle was purchased by a local priest who invited monks from the Belgian Abbey of Maredsous to begin a community here in 1927.
Since those pioneering monks planted the monastic life here at Glenstal in those frugal early days, Glenstal Abbey has grown to become a large community of monks with a recently renovated Abbey Church, a well-resourced library, a popular guesthouse, magnificent gardens, a successful farm and a vibrant boarding school.
The Abbey is part of the wider Benedictine family of the Congregation of the Annunciation – formerly known as the ‘Belgian Congregation’ – which has monasteries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Our links with these communities, added to the international character of our own monastery, speaks of the diverse unity found in the monastic life today.