Across the Cherbourg Peninsula from the infamous Omaha Beach in Normandy is one of France‘s most striking landmarks, as well as one of the most popular outside of Paris, Mont Saint-Michel. Dominating the the landscape of this tidal island turned commune is the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, a place so beautiful Victor Hugo lobbied to preserve it. Over the millennia and a half that the island has been inhabited, it has seen quite a lot of history, from being in British hands to being a prison for over 70 years.
This shot of the Le Mont Saint-Michel, which shows off its beautiful symmetry against a perfectly blue sky, was captured by Flickr user annegbt. If you have a great travel photo, submit it to our Gadling Flickr pool and it may also be featured on as our Photo of the Day.
Mourne Abbey in County Cork, Ireland, has been the focus of an archaeological excavation to discover more about the history of this medieval religious center.
The abbey was built around 1199 by the Knights Templar. After the rulers of Europe turned on the Templars and destroyed the order in 1307, resulting in 700 years of conspiracy theories, the abbey was handed over to the Knights Hospitaller. This knightly order got its name because its original purpose was to care for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem after the First Crusade, but soon they acquired more land and more power to become one of the leading forces in the Holy Land and Europe. They owned some of the toughest castles in the world.
Their power waned after the Muslims reconquered the Holy Land but the order still exists today. The abbey was abandoned when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries as part of his break from Rome in 1541. It has since fallen into picturesque ruin.
Now a team of archaeologists has excavated the site and discovered remains from the Hospitaller’s stay in the abbey. The team uncovered the foundations of a 13th century preceptory, the local headquarters for the knights. Very few remains of the Knights Hospitaller have ever been found in Ireland. The archaeologists discovered decorated floor tiles, the tomb of a 16th century knight, and several artifacts.
The abbey is open to the public and there’s a medieval castle and town an easy walk away. For more images of this historic abbey, click here.