Bangor Abbey was established by Saint Comgall in 558 and was famous for its learning and austere rule. Bangor Abbey is regarded as one of the most important of the early Northern Irish monastic sites, second only to Armagh. Within the extensive rampart which encircled its monastic buildings, students studied scripture, theology, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music, and the classics.
Bangor was a major center of learning and trained many missionaries. Columbanus and Gall went off to Continental Europe in 590 AD and founded the famous monasteries of Luxiell (France), St Gallen (Switzerland) and Bobbio (Italy).
Like many early Irish monasteries, Bangor was destroyed and rebuilt on a number of occasions. The Annals of Ulster record that Bangor was burned in 616 and again in 755. No doubt at this period the buildings were constructed of wood. Easily accessible from the sea, Bangor invited attack, and between 822 and 824 the Norsemen plundered it. The Annals of Ulster and the Four Masters both record that during this raid, “learned men and bishops” were smitten, while the shrine containing the relics of Comgall was taken. Another probable victim of the Vikings was “Tanaidhe MacUidhir, coarb of Bennchor, who was killed in 958. There is a consensus that the importance of Bangor declined around the latter part of the tenth century.
When St. Malachy, in 1121, became Abbot of Bangor he had to build everything anew. However, three years later he was promoted to the See of Down, and Bangor again decayed.
In 1469, the Franciscans had possession of it, and a century later the Augustinians, after which, at the dissolution of the monasteries in that part of Ireland, it was given by James I to Sir James Hamilton who repaired the church in 1617 and was buried in it when he died in 1644. It appears that stone from the abbey was used in the construction of the new church. All that remains of the Abbey ruins is St. Malachy's Wall.
The present Tower of the church dates back to the 14th century. A mural in the church is of Christ ascending to heaven with Saints Comgall, Gall and Columbanus at his feet.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.