How the Knights Templar came to be in Ireland

505px-Dioceses_of_Medieval_IrelandWere there any Knights Templar in Ireland?  Yes is the answer.  More than likely, they came over with the armies of Henry II during the twelfth century but what role they did perform in that country?

It seems Ireland was something of an old people’s home for the Order.  Knights no longer fit to battle in the Holy Land retired there to manage Templar estates.  There is evidence of Templar activity from 1220 onwards but as mentioned above, it’s widely assumed they had been in Ireland for fifty years by then.

When the Order was suppressed and leading Templars were tortured and executed, some ageing knights were taken to Dublin Castle and imprisoned.  I don’t know if they were tortured as those in France were but they were put on trial in the city cathedral. Their inquisitors were three Dominicans and two Franciscans.

One of the charges was that at their preceptory in Clontarf, a senior Templar had refused to look at the host when it was raised by the priest during the sacrament. Other charges just repeated the usual stuff about urinating on the crucifix and sodomising each other.

There is one book on the subject I know of – The Knights Templar and Ireland by Michael Carroll – which sheds more light on the subject. Basically, the Templars were part of the Plantagenet subduing of Ireland. But they would eventually share the fate of all their brothers across Europe.

One Comment on “How the Knights Templar came to be in Ireland

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