Ireland - Robert Downie
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The Black Abbey

The Black Abbey is quite the survivor. Founded in 1225 it suffered through the Black Plague which claimed the lives of eight successive priests in 1348, yet its darkest days came in 1650 when Oliver Cromwell successfully sieged Kilkenny and then used the Abbey as a courthouse before sacking it and leaving only the walls standing. After 163 years it finally reopened in 1816 with the entire building not being fully restored until 1979. It is thought to have been named the Black Abbey because of the black cloaks worn by the Dominicans or "Black Friars" over their white habits. Kilkenny, Ireland

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