Grey Abbey

Grey Abbey

This Cistercian Abbey church and its living quarters were founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of John de Courcy, the Anglo-Norman invader of East Ulster. 

The Abbey is set in the landscaped parkland of the 18th Century Rosemount House; however, visitors should note that these grounds are private. Visitors are welcome to wander among the ruins and the lawns, where picnics are also permitted.

With Inch Abbey, Grey Abbey is the best example of Anglo Norman Cistercian architecture in Ulster. It is the daughter house of Holy Cultram (Cumbria). Founded in 1193 by John de Courcy’s wife, Afreca. Poor and decayed in the late Middle Ages the abbey was dissolved in 1541, but in the early 17th century was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery and the nave was refurbished for parish worship until the late 15th century. The remains in the beautiful parkland setting in the nearby grand house of Rosemount consist of the church cloister and surrounding buildings to the south. 
There is a small visitor’s centre with displays and a reconstructed ‘medieval’ physic garden.

There is pedestrian and wheelchair access from the car park to the herb garden and abbey church. Gravel paths and grass areas may make some parts of the site inaccessible to some users. Please note that the grounds are open, but the visitor centre closed until further notice.



Opening Hours

Grounds open 9am to dusk

Visitor Centre (February to November):

Saturday 13:00 to 16:00

Sunday 13:30 to 16:00

By appointment otherwise



No charge


No charge

Getting There

Travel north east along Main Street in Grey Abbey. Turn right onto Church Street, the car park is on your right after the row of cottages.

Cycling Routes

Circular, 82 miles (132km)

Strangford Lough Trail. Cycle through Saint Patrick's country and around one of Europe's most important wildlife sites..


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+44 (0) 28 9082 3207


Church Street
Co Down
BT22 2NQ

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This site is funded
courtesy of
Big Lottery Fund Ulster Garden Villages
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