I took a trip on the River Blackwater today. I didn`t go too far but I was on the river for a few hours as the pace of my boating has to be very gentle because of an ongoing back injury. I travelled from Coolbagh pier downriver as far as Molana Abbey. At that stage my back wasn`t able for any more paddling so I waited there until the flood tide started running and I could drift back to Coolbagh at my ease.The weather was very cold with temperatures over the water of only three to five degrees centigrade. Still it was worth staying out that little bit longer to enjoy a lovely sunset.
Above is a picture of the ruins of Molana Abbey. It was originally built in the 6th century by a disciple of St. Carthage by the name of Molanfide. Where it was built was originally an island but is now joined to the mainland. By the early 8th century it was a stronghold for The Ceili De , a monastic order. The monks of this order produced a book in latin which was a very important book for the church. It was effectively a book dictating the first rules of canon law. The monks became a regular target for the invading vikings and this along with some regular flooding of the low lying island left the island empty and desolate by the 11th century. The next occupants of Molana Abbey were Augustinian monks in the first half of the 12th century. They were joined before the century was out by Raymond le Gros who came during the Norman invasion and was Strongbows 2nd in command. The abbeys colourful history continues after that with its protection being provided by The Knights Templar who had a castle built for them overlooking the abbey. A later abbot was disposed by Pope Pius 2nd for dodgy dealings and not too long after that its ownership was given to a local shipping captain called John Thickpenny. After that it was owned by a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh and then to the Smyth family who owned it up into the twentieth century.