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Roscrea, Abbey of


An Irish monastery located in County Tipperary, Ireland, Diocese of Killaloe. It was founded by St. Crónán (d. c. 665) on one of the ancient highways called the Slige Dála. By the beginning of the 9th century it had been given in commendation to a lay abbot. There was an abbot-bishop there in 918 and again in 1045, and some of its abbots held office also at the monastery of clon macnois in 839 and 1043. It was declared part of the Diocese of Killaloe in 1111, but was recognized as a separate diocese, suffragan of Cashel, in 1152. Around the end of the 12th century it was reduced to the status of a deanery of Killaloe. From its scriptorium came the Book of Dimma, which dates from the 8th century, the Annals of Roscrea, of which only one 17th-century fragmentary copy survives, and the Rule of Échtgus Úa Cúanáin, a tract on the Eucharist, from about the 12th century. The abbey's architectural remains are of various dates and include a round tower from c. the 9th century and the porch of the old church of Crónán in the Hiberno-Romanesque style from the middle of the 12th century.

Bibliography: a. gwynn and d. f. gleeson, A History of the Diocese of Killaloe (Dublin 1962) 6078, 169. d. f. gleeson, Roscrea (Dublin 1947) 517, 150154. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:2535.

[c. mcgrath]

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