The Rose in the Ceiling at Glenluce Abbey

What is that Donkey doing?  As we pull up in the car park it trots over.  Honking away, excited to see us.  Trying to climb over the wall it is clearly under the impression that the car snacks will stretch to a donkey as well.

Unfortunately it is not its lucky day and we head down the path to Glenluce Abbey

Imagine the time before the Protestant Reformation.  Monks are living in the Water of Luce Valley, a small river valley in the far south west corner of Scotland.  the Abbey was founded in 1191 by Roland, Lord of Galloway.  Each day the monks would enter the Chapter House to hear the Abbot or senior monks talk.  The Cistercian monks who lived in Glenluce Abbey followed a strict order, accepting the guidance laid down from the Cistercian government.

The Chapter House is usually located on the eastern side of the cloisters by the church.  It is designed for acoustics with a high vaulted ceiling supported by ornate pillars.  Windows are high to prevent eavesdropping (and probably daydreaming by the monks) and the seats are built into the walls around the edge. The monks would  sit in strict age order as the tasks for the day were read out, any faults were identified and prayers were offered.

The quiet monastic life within the cloisters and the echoes in the Chapter House are not quite as beautiful today.  The fantastic chapter house acoustics are quickly discovered and thoughts of prayers and chants turn to boys seeing who can get the strongest and wildest echo to reverberate around the ceiling.  I suppose it is a lesson in physics and sound waves.  This small chapter house must have sounded amazing with the monks during prayers.

All the while the donkey has been sat in its field waiting for our return.  Cheering up as we approach, it greets us like long lost friends.  Sadly we disappoint our friend yet again as we head towards Glenwhilly Junction without a backwards glance.

Photography at Glenluce Abbey

Glenluce Abbey has a number of low walls that lend themselves to “peeking’ shots either behind or over the top. There are also a number of carvings and doorways which are quite photogenic. Overall this pretty little abbey is a great family place to explore with a deep history, but opportunities for unique photography is limited.

Visiting Glenluce Abbey


Glenluce Abbey is located outside the village of Glenluce between Newton Stewart and Stranraer.  Glenluce Abbey has varied opening times so check before visiting.  The Abbey can be seen from the road at all times. 

Parking grid reference NY 02549 65628

Parking Lat/Long 54.975693,  -3.5240488

Parking postcode DG1 4RU

Map OS Explorer Map 322 (1:25000) Annandale