The monastic site at Durrow, Co Offaly was founded by St Columba (Columcille) in 553 AD. It is one of a number of foundations established by the saint. St Columba lived at the monastery from 553-563 AD, it is from this location that he left to found a monastery in Iona, Scotland. Durrow flourished as a monastic settlement and was widely known as one of the great centres of learning. Indeed, the Venerable Bede called it Monasterium nobile in Hiberniâ. The Book of Durrow (housed at Trinity College, Dublin), an illuminated manuscript is amongst the most famous illuminated manuscripts in Ireland to have survived Viking, Irish, Norman and Reformation raids. Not a great deal of the monastic buildings survive today, except for a 9th century cross, several grave slabs and a holy well. However, it is situated in a tranquil estate and the landscape has remained relatively unchanged.
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