Tag Archive | Rag Tree

Mount Melleray Abbey and the missing Rag Tree


Mount Melleray is a Cistercian Abbey located about 27km from Clonmel towards Cappoquin.  It was founded in 1832 by a group of Irish Monks who came to Ireland when they were forced to leave their Monastery in Brittany, France, following the revolution.

It is still a fully functioning Monastery and masses are held every weekday at 7.45AM, and on Sundays at 10.00am and 12 noon.

We arrived there yesterday morning, just as mass was finishing.  The right thing to do would have been to arrive before it began, I suppose, but I’m not very religious.  I pray, and I light a candle now and again, but it wouldn’t necessarily be in a church.

Avenue at Mount Melleray

Avenue at Mount Melleray Abbey


There are beautiful tree lined walkways around the Abbey – the perfect place to reflect and to have a quiet moment to oneself.

Mount Melleray Abbey

Mount Melleray Abbey

Melleray Avenue

Mount Melleray Avenue


There’s a small little café that does tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some lovely snacks and cakes too.

Mount Melleray Tea Rooms

The Cloisters Tea Rooms, Mount Melleray

Coffee and Scone

Instagram coffee


When we’d finished coffee I walked down the long driveway in the direction of the Scout Centre.  John has been on camp with the scouts there on several occasions and I wanted to take a look.

Mount Melleray Driveway

Mount Melleray Driveway


The camping field is very well looked after.  Maybe next time I’m invited along I might actually go.

Melleray Camping Field

Melleray Camping Field

Mount Melleray

Mount Melleray

Melleray Scout Centre

Melleray Scout Centre


There’s a small shop and a hotel just outside the gates of the driveway.

I’ve been into the hotel before.  It’s good for tea and scones.  The last time I was there I had a tour of the bedrooms too, which were lovely.  The hotel runs Christmas parties and this would be an ideal place to stay with family as it’s so small and cosy.

Mount Melleray Hotel

Mount Melleray Hotel


A lot of people visit the Grotto at Melleray where Our Lady appeared over 30 years ago and delivered a nine day message. You can read more information on the apparitions here.

You’d almost miss the Grotto if you didn’t know where it was.  The entrance from the road is a small little archway set in a wall, just off a bend in the road.

Grotto Entrance Melleray

Grotto Entrance Melleray


You’d want to be blind to miss the two carparks though, although I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to visit a Holy Grotto.

Melleray Grotto Car Parks

Car parking at Melleray Grotto


The last time I was at Melleray must have been over a year ago.  At the time I remember there being a Rag tree or ‘Fairy tree’ not too far from the Abbey – maybe about a mile or so out the road to Newcastle.  But I couldn’t find it this time.

I’ve learnt so much about them though through all my searching for this one.

They’re often situated beside ‘Cloughtie’ or ‘Clootie’ sacred wells and are thought to be associated with Gypsies.  I vaguely remember a few caravans in one of the fields up beside Melleray when I was there last, and I’m pretty sure it was probably the field where the cottage was that I visited yesterday, as there were signs that someone had been living there up till fairly recently.  I think that’s probably where the tree was too.

It’s gone now anyway, which is a pity.  It made for a fairly striking sight when driving by.  Maybe that’s why there were so many sheep carcasses around though.  I can’t imagine chewing on buttons and sets of Rosary beads would do the poor sheep any good.

I passed a tree down beside the Suir in Clonmel yesterday, across the road from Raheen House, and there were rags hanging from it’s branches.  So it looks like Clonmel will have its own suburban rag tree fairly shortly.  This is also a pity.  Because, as striking as the Raggedy Whitethorn was that was up in the wilds of the Knockmealdowns, I’m not sure that a Rag Tree needs to put in an appearance beside the river in Clonmel.

Rag Tree Knocklucas

I had a look for this particular tree when I got back from  Melleray.  Apparently it’s just out the road in Knocklucas.  The picture is from the Heritage Trees Database on TreeCouncil.ie.

I couldn’t find it.  The website states that, at the time,  the well and the path leading to it had fallen into disrepair, and God only knows how long that link has been on the site.

Having cleared out the wardrobes here, again, I have enough rags, myself,  to decorate a small forest.  I think I’ll just shove them in the Recycling bank though.  Like I said….I’m not very religious.


Mount Melleray Map

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