Bonamargy Friary is a late Franciscan foundation established in 1485 by Rory MacQuillan. It is said that the first battle between the warring MacDonnell and MacQuillan clans was fought on nearby land. At the main entrance to the friary is a small, two storey gatehouse which opens into a store and workroom. Well worn steps lead directly to the dormitory above. Traces of an altar can still be found in the adjoining church, and the locked vaults hold the remains of the celebrated chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and several of the earls of Antrim. His grandson Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim, noted for his role in the War of the Three Kingdoms, is also buried there.

Perhaps the Friary’s most famous resident was the 17th century prophet and recluse Julie MacQuillen. Known as ‘The Black Nun’, MacQuillen wished to be buried at the entrance of the chapel so that she might be trodden under the feet of those who entered. A worn Celtic cross (rounded with a hole in the centre) marks her grave at the west end of the main church.

Around 1822 four manuscripts were found in an old oaken chest in the ruins of Bonamargy Friary. One of these manuscripts is described as 'Saint Bonaventures Life of Christ' and/or 'A History of the Blessed Scriptures'. Another manuscript contained a large portion of one of the principal theological works of Saint Thomas Aquinas, written on vellum, in very contracted Latin and extending to about 600 quarto pages. The earliest date appearing on it is 1338 and the latest 1380. It originally belonged to the Monastery of Saint Anthony, of Amiens in France.

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Founded: 1485
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Alvin Jamison (20 months ago)
Great place with alot of history
Anne McCusker (21 months ago)
Fascinating! Such an interesting ruin, well kept. The Royal and Merchant Navy plot was heartbreaking to see. The story of the Black Nun has always fascinated me, interesting to at last visit the scene.
Andrea Johnston (21 months ago)
Parking for 2 cars only. And the teens hang out here, and disrespect the ruins & visitors (their language is not recommended for young kids, so check to see if the teens are there before the kids hop out of the car). We weren't pleased with the disrespect, so we didn't enjoy it. If they had any caretakers, then I feel the teens wouldn't be able to hang out here.
Liam F (21 months ago)
It feels like a really sacred place, theres not many places like this that the public can enter
Seamus Kelly (21 months ago)
Stunning caves on game of thrones tour route
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