General information

Holywood Priory Church
Holywood Priory Church

Holywood’s rich ecclesiastical heritage is represented today by its most distinctive building, the Old Priory. The site is a monastery founded by St. Laiseran in the early 7th Century. The present ruins are 12th century Anglo-Norman Augustinian Abbey built by Thomas Whyte and much of these ruins remain. After the Black death (1348-1350) Niall O’Neill refurbished the church for the Franciscan Order. The Priory was dissolved on New Years Day, 1541, by Henry VIII with its lands passing into the hands of the O’Neill family and then to Sir James Hamilton, First Viscount Clandeboye. Hamilton laid out the town, with a maypole at the crossroads and most of the early buildings are clustered round the Priory. The tower dates from the 1800’s when this was the site of the town’s Parish Church. The graveyard has some interesting “residents” including members of the Praeger family, the Dunvilles of whiskey fame and Sir Joseph Larmor the world famous mathematician.

Opening times

Graveyard open daily and Priory open by arrangement

Price list

No admission charge

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Contact Information

Attraction / Heritage/History

Holywood Priory Church

High Street
County Down
BT19 9AB
Phone number
T: (028) 9127 0069
Web Address

View website

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