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 Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.
Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.
The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.