Jerpoint Park

Jerpoint Park

The Deserted 12th Century Town of Newtown Jerpoint

The location of the deserted 12th century town name Newtown Jerpoint. This was a thriving time in the middle ages as pilgrims came to the nearby Jerpoint Abbey, a (currently ruined) Cistercian abbey, and to visit the tomb effigy of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

The town of Newtown Jerpoint prospered due to the numbers of pilgrims visiting and staying in the local hostelries. It had the church, graveyard, approximately 27 dwelling houses, a courthouse, a woollen mill, tannery, brewery and up to 14 taverns. The town survived until the 16th century.

Today, visitors can see the ruined remains of the town church, outside of which lies the tomb effigy of Saint Nicholas. The footings of some of these building can be seen to this day. Lidar images of the ground scans have shown the layout of the town. There are some fine example of stone carving to be seen from the period.

The town became deserted in the 16th century when the monasteries were dissoved by the English king Henry VIII.

The Tomb Effigy of Saint Nicholas

Who was Saint Nicholas?

He is the internationally well known saint after whom Santa Claus is modelled.

Many countries have stories of how Saint Nicholas was kind and generous to children. He came from an area which is in modern day Turkey. Born in the year 270 to Christian parents, he was orphaned as a young baby and inherited their fortune. He gave his wealth to the poor. One story tells of how he threw bags of gold into the houses of girls who were going to be forced into prostitution or sold as slaves because their poor parents could not afford a dowry to have them married. He threw the bags of gold coins in through doors, windows or even down the chimney. The three gold balls seen outside Pawnbroker shops come from the bags of gold given away by Saint Nicholas.

During the 12th century, bones and relics from Saint Nicholas wre carried off across Europe, and legend has it that some Norman crusading knights brought bones and relics of Saint Nicholas to Newtown Jerpoint for safe keeping.

Visitor Information

If you visit Jerpoint Park you will be walking in fields and over uneven ground. Wear appropriate footwear, and have a raincoat, hat or umbrella if there is risk of rain. This is Ireland after all!

If you have children with you, it's a great opportunity to get them interested in the history of monasteries, monks, crusading knights, and how the Santa Claus they know and love came about.

Jerpoint Park is located 21 km south of Kilkenny city and 3 km south west of Thomastown, the birthplace of the scientist and philosopher George Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne). He was born in 1685 at Dysart Castle, Thomastown. His philosophy advanced the theory of Immaterialism, later referred to as Subjective Idealism. This theory purports that material items are only ideas in the minds of those who perceive them. It not perceived, they do not exist. Well, he must never have tripped over a stone on the ground as he was walking along with his eyes gazing up into the sky. Sorry, I digress...

Jerpoint Park: Click the map pin icon to view the location on a map.

Jerpoint park is only open for visitors from April to October. For details of opening hours and tour times, click the "More info" button.

Sheepdog demonstrations can also be arranged for visitors. Jerpoint park also has tea rooms where scones and refreshments are served.

Video from The Heritage Council
Belmore House, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, R95 KC2F, Ireland
+353 86 606 1449