DUNBRODY (ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL), a parish, in the barony of SHELBURNE, county of WEXFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 2 miles (N.) from Arthurstown, on the road from New Ross to Duncannon Fort ; the population is returned with the parish of St. James.
Hervey de Montmorency, marshal of Henry II., and seneschal of all the lands acquired by Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, on his expedition to Ireland, having in Consequence of some dispute resigned his commission, parcelled out the lands allotted to him among his followers, retaining only that portion which now constitutes the parishes of Dunbrody and St. James. In 1182, he founded and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul the Cistertian abbey of Dunbrody, which he endowed with this reserved portion of his possessions, and became himself the first abbot. The abbots sat as barons in the Irish Parliament, and the establishment flourished until the dissolution, when Alexander Devereux, the last abbot, compounded for his abbacy, and was appointed Bishop of Ferns.
The parish is bounded on the west by Waterford harbour; and an inlet called Campile is navigable for small craft, bringing limestone and coal, the former of which is extensively used for manure; the land is chiefly under tillage, and an improved system of agriculture has been generally adopted. A ferry hence to Passage, on the opposite side of the harbour, affords a direct communication with the city of Waterford.
Dunbrody Castle, the property of Lord Templemore, and at present in the possession of Richard Barron, Esq., is a modernised edifice, partly incorporated with the walls of the ancient castle built in the reign of Hen. II.
The living is an impropriate curacy, in the diocese of Ferns, annexed to those of Rathroe and St. James, and in the patronage of Lord Templemore, in whom the rectory is impropriate.
In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Horeswood.
The ruins of Dunbrody Abbey are among the most interesting and magnificent relics of antiquity in the south of Ireland; they are situated on a verdant slope gently inclining to the shore of the harbour and comprise the skeleton of the conventual church, the refectory, the foundations of the cloisters, and part of the domestic buildings. The church, a noble cruciform structure, 200 feet in length and 140 in breadth, is chiefly in the early style of English architecture, with a massive central tower supported on four finely pointed arches. A considerable portion of it was built by Herlewen, Bishop of Leighlin, who died in 1217, and was interred in the abbey.
In 1810, a massive bronze seal, supposed to have been the ancient seal of the abbey, was discovered among the ruins.