Official Name O.L. of Bethlehem Abbey


Country Ireland

City Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Address 11 Ballymena Road, Portglenone

Postcode BT44 8BL

Contact Information

Telephone [44] (28) 2582 1211

Community Email [email protected]


Superior Dom Aelred Magee, Superior ad nutum 2024

Other Information

Juridical Status Abbey

Diocese Dioecesis Dunensis et Connorensis (Down and Connor)


Founded/Restored 1948


Founded by Mount Melleray in 1948; Abbey in July 1951.


A Georgian mansion (c. 1800) with an estate of about 150 mostly fertile arable hectares situated in Northern Ireland was purchased in 1948. Other buildings were added on prior to the construction of an entirely new monastery in the 1960s, which was necessitated by the increasing numbers joining the community. The numbers peaked around 1970.

1967: opening and blessing of the new church.

The monastery is situated in the Northern part of Ireland where the centuries-old political conflict between the English and Irish (later to have a religious Catholic/Protestant dimension) still simmers and flares up from time to time.

Father Immediate

Mount Melleray (until 2022); Father Immediate : Rep. delegated to M. Brigitte Pinot of Tautra

Lay Associates

Cistercian Lay Associates of Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey

Past Superiors

Oliver FARRELL, Superior — 01/09/1948 – 08/07-1951, Abbot 08/07/1951-17/09/1958
Aengus DUNPHY, Abbot — 22/10/1958 – 26/09/1977
Celsus KELLY, Abbot — 27/09/1977 – 08/11/2019
Celsus KELLY, Superior ad nutum — 09/11/ 2019 – 17/01/2024

Work and Sources of Income

A changing economic climate has meant that the farm no longer provides the community with a viable source of income. This comes mainly from a religious shop, a craftshop and a printery; with something as well from the donations left by the steady stream of visitors.

Guest Facilities

10 rooms, all of which can be shared if necessary.


10 rooms, all of which can be shared if necessary.


  • Phare


  • Assomption


  • Viaceli