Jerpoint Abbey is believed to have been founded as a Benedictine religious house some time around 1160AD by Domnall Mac Gilla Patraic, king of Osraige. However, a certain date can't be established until 1180AD when Donogh O'Donoghoe Mac Gilla Patraic, king of Ossory, moved a colony of Cistercian monks to the site. At this time, Jerpoint Abbey became affiliated to Baltinglass as a daughter-house.
In 1227AD, Jerpoint Abbey was subject to a visitation from England, and due to "lax practices" removed from the jurisdiction of Baltinglass, and transferred as a daughter-house to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. Records show that by 1228AD, there were 36 monks and 50 lay brothers living in the abbey.
In 1540AD, Jerpoint Abbey was dissolved, and the properties granted to James Butler, Earl of Ormond. The buildings fell into disrepair, and the site was finally transferred to the Office of Public Works in 1880AD.
Today, Jerpoint Abbey consists of reasonably extensive ruins, with some particularly striking features - such as the surviving segment of the 15th Century sculptured cloister arcade, notable for its fine carvings. Additionally, the abbey's 15th Century square tower survives in good condition, along with its two transept wings. The transept chapels also contain some exceptional 13th to 16th Century tomb sculptures.