The abbey was founded in 1315 by the Earl of Kildare and was the second of three monasteries established at Adare.
Its location beside the river Maigue on the bank opposite the Desmond Castle afforded it rich pasture lands and a prime location for visitors. The abbey was destroyed during the suppression of Henry VIII and was restored by the Earl of Dunraven in the last century.
Today the church of Saint Nicholas is used for worship by the Church Of Ireland community and is open daily. The restored cloisters and Dunraven Mausoleum are also worth viewing.