About The Area
Multyfarnham or Multyfarnam (Irish: Muilte Farannáin, meaning “Farannán’s mills”) is situated 45 minutes from Dublin on the N4. The town has easy access to the shores of Lough Derravaragh, and the associated resources, such as, hill walking, boating, and fishing, with authorised permits. Horse-riding facilities are also available nearby.
The Irish Franciscan friars (O.F.M.) still maintain a presence in the ancient monastery here which was founded in 1268. During the wars of the 1640s it became an organisational centre for the enormously powerful and influential Franciscans in Ireland, who met there in their provincial assembly at the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion. In 1646, there were 30 friars in residence here. By the middle of era of the Penal Laws there were as few as seven friars, five of whom were of advanced age. The church was unroofed from 1651 and remained so until to 1827. In 1839 a new friary was rebuilt in the grounds. The Franciscan College, Multyfarnham was opened in 1899. There were four pupils enrolled for the first year. This school later became a recognised Agricultural College in 1956, and continued to teach until 2003.
Around the picturesque monastery grounds, among the lawns, around the church and the college buildings, there are 14 elaborate life size Stations of the Cross. This is a focal point for special devotions. It is regarded as one of the finest outdoor shrines in Ireland, and draws many tourists. The college is now used as an educational and seminar centre. It also hosts an arts centre.