It is a medieval Franciscan convent located about a mile northwest of Headford, County Galway, Ireland. Architectural notices and documentary evidence gave rise to a modern consensus that the convent was founded in the middle of the 15th century, perhaps around 1460.
The church and bell tower are to the south of a small but well-preserved central cloister and the domestic buildings are to the north. These include a kitchen (equipped with an oven and a water tank for live fish), a cake house and a dining room or dining area. The dorms are on the upper levels. An unusual feature is a second courtyard or cloister, built to accommodate the convent's growing population.
WHY THIS PLACE
• Although generally referred to by locals as "Ross Abbey", this is not technically correct, as the community has never had an abbot.
• It has been used as a filming location for Bad Karma, the Suicide Club, Moving Target and the Reign series.
• Like many other abandoned Christian sites in Ireland, Ross Errilly continued to be used as a cemetery by residents of the area. In addition to the tombs dating from the active period of the convent, many tombs dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries can be found inside the walls of the church. In some cases, headstones cover walkway floors and tracking areas.
• Archaeological studies published in 1982 and 1987 revealed that the original Byzantine plant survived mainly in the southern part, with its typical square towers. The Armenians rebuilt the north and west sides of the castle, using not the irregularly shaped stones available at the site, but instead carving the blocks of rough rock into quadrangular units, known as ashlar. They added round towers, a vaulted chapel inside the fort and new stone cladding over most of the Greek building.
• According to a legend, a prophetess had informed the king that her daughter would be bitten by a poisonous snake and that nothing could be done to change her destiny. Desperate, the king tried to save the princess by building for her a castle on an island where there were no poisonous animals, but even so a snake hid in a basket of grapes brought from the continent and ended up killing her. This legend, in fact, is also told about other islands in Turkey, but, according to some, it would explain the Turkish name of the fort: Maiden's Castle.