Overlooking Fore (Lough-Lene North)

Evreux Monks from Normandy France once inhabited Fore abbey


Fore Abbey and village, next to the old Benedictine Abbey in ruin, are situated to the north of Lough Lene in County Westmeath, also popularly called, the lake-county of Ireland. The Fore village, (sister parish of nearby St. Mary's Collinstown) is situated within a valley between two hills: the Hill of Ben, the Hill of Houndslow, and the Anchorland rise area. There can be found the ruins of a Christian monastery, which had been populated at one time by French Benedictine monks from Évreux, Normandy. Fore, Fobhar is the anglicised version of the Irish name that signifies “the town of the water-springs” and was given to the area after St Fechin’s spring or well, which is next to the old church a short distance from where the ruined monastry still stands. It was St. Fechin who founded the ancient Fore Abbey around the year 630. By the year 665 (the time of the Yellow fever, or yellow plague) there were 300 monks living in the community.

A Benedictine Priory

In the 13th century the Hugh de Lacy the Normans and landlord built a Bendictine priory in the valley nearby. Many of the buildings that remain today (in ruins) which are from the 15th century and have been restored throughout this century making Fore Abbey the largest group of 300 Benedictine to have sejourned and remaind in Ireland. Its 13th century church still has some docorations and graceful arcaded cloisters. Attached to the church are the broken walls of two towers, where the monks once lived. Between the year 771 and 1169 Fore Abbey had been burnt 12 times by pillaging invadors, such as the Turgesius' Vikings and other chieftens.

Fore Church St. Fechin's

Seven Wonders of Fore

The Abbey is also noted for what local populations call its seven wonders:
1. The monastery built upon the bog.
2. The Watermill without a race (Lough Lane water flows through the seperating hill).
3. The water that flows uphill.
4. The Tree that has three branches/the tree that will not burn.
5. The Water that doesn’t boil.
6. The Anchorite in a stone.
7. The Post and lintel-stone raised by St. Fechin’s prayers.
Another important aspect of Fore is the ''Fore Crosses'' one of which is in the village of Fore. There are 18 crosses; some crosses are plain (most likely to wind and rain erosion) whilst others are sill remain carved. These are spread out over 7 miles on roadways and in fields and bared witness to religious persecution during penal times.

Overlooking Fore Village cross-roads

External links
Overlooking Fore (Lough-Lene North)>
From the Lough Lene Inn Collinstown
The Fore Trail>
Lough Lene Gaels Hurling Club Website>
Buildings and structures in Westmeath
Archaeological sites in the Republic of Ireland>
Structures of the Year 771
Monasteries in the Republic of Ireland
Fore Abbey from wikipedia
Abbaye de Fore>

Made with the Bluefish HTML editor Linux fedora core 3
Photographs courtesy "Nolan Engineering Ltd." Peter Gavigan E-mail Gavigan@noos.fr 22/07/2006
Gavigan@ireland.com Subject=http://www.lough-lene.eu/fore.html">