2nd February 1308
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On Friday 13th of October 1307 King Philip of France, with the support of Pope Clement V, ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar in France. Four months later that same order was carried out in Ireland.

The Knights Templar were an armed religious order established in 1118 during the Crusades to aid and protect pilgrims making their way to the Holy Land. They had a considerable presence in Ireland and at one stage were the owners of Clontarf Castle. 

In spite of their vows of poverty, the Knights Templar became extremely wealthy, owning a large number of properties throughout Europe. As the increasing power of the Templars became evident, King Philip of France grew jealous and fearful of their influence. He had also borrowed large sums of money from the Templars which he knew that he could not repay. He convinced Pope Clement V to order the arrest of the Templars in France. This order was given on Friday the 13th of October 1307, which is why any Friday the 13th is now considered to be a day of bad luck. Many of the Templars were brutally tortured into confessing to heretical crimes. From these confessions, the Pope ordered the suppression and arrest of the Templars throughout Europe. 

In Ireland the trial of the Templars was less of a spectacle than in mainland Europe as the Irish Templars were spared the torture endured by their European counterparts. They were arrested on February 2nd 1308. All Templar property was seized by King Eward II. The men were held in Dublin Castle where they waited for an entire year before their jurors arrived to decide their fate. The inquisitors were a group of five men made up of Dominicans and Franciscans, chosen for their loyalty to the Pope. The trial took place in St Patrick's Cathedral which would then have been on the outskirts of Dublin city. It began on the 6th of February 1310 and lasted for four months. The charges were heretical in nature, denying Christ, worshipping idols, and spitting on the cross. Though there was no solid evidence the Templars were convicted. All of their posessions and lands were given to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, known today as the Order of Malta. Though the Templars in France were burned at the stake, it seems that the Irish Templars were spared such a fate and allowed instead to enter into monastic life to serve their penance. 

Read about the rise and fall of the Knights Templar here

Read more: St Michan's Church Dublin 

Read more: St Nicholas' Church Galway 


  • The preceptory in Mourneabbey near Mallow was a Knights Templar stronghold that has been excavated . After the suppression in 1307 it seems to have become a significant Knights Hospitaller preceptory. When I was involved in the historic graves project in nearby Kilshannig Graveyard a grave capstone was pointed out which had a Fleur de Lis  enblem carved on it and experts considered it was connected to the Knights Hospitallers and the French Monarchy. ,. It was uncovered in about 1850 when the graveyard was being restored and was embedded in the boundary wall for safe keeping where it lies to this day. Local knowledge indicates  the Abbot of Murneabbey Preceptory was buried in Kilshannig with full regalia but the tomb was robbed and the capstone thrown aside. No one has any idea who the prior was but I suggest it may have been an O Callaghan whose castle at Dromineed in close by and he must have been a person of substance. and was buried in O Callaghan property. The  O Callaghans were former High Kings of Munster and controlled about 45,000acres of land west of Mallow and along the BlackWater Valley.. I have a paper rubbing which highlights the stone much better than a photo but see no place to upload it ,however ,it can be seen on the website "historicgraves.com" in Newberry(Kilshannig) graveyard database and is number 261. There is no inscription on the stone and the photo is indistinct.

    I would appreciate informed comment on that stone

    Donie O Sullivan

    Donie Sullivan

    Wednesday 11th August 2021, 10:28PM