This Abbey was founded by Fr. Hugh O’ Malley in 1457, after receiving the land from the local chieftain (said to be a grandfather to Grainnuaile). Fr. Hugh had sought permission to establish a Friary from Pope Callistus the 3rd for the Canon Regulars of St. Augustine (Augustinians). It was later dedicated to St. Patrick.
In 1578 the land was leased to James Garvey, who was a brother to the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh. From then until the 1800s, little is known of the friars attached to the friary but it is known they suffered persecution.
It is believed some of them relocated to the friary in Ballyhaunis when Murrisk friary ceased to function. One such friar, Fr. Myles Prendergast, had to spend many years on the run in the Clifden area. Although the friars were not in residence in the Friary, there is evidence to suggest some were sheltered in the area by locals and administered to their flock.
A chalice, now in Tuam, has the following inscription: ‘Pray for the souls of Theobald, Lord Viscount Mayo and his wife Maeve ni Cnochoure who had me made for the monastery of Murrisk in the year of our Lord 1635’.
One Fr. Philip Staunton appears to have been the last monk in Murrisk and later died in Ballintubber.