Burrishoole Abbey was founded in 1469 by Richard (Burke) de Burgo and was originally a wooden structure. The Abbey was situated alongside the old town on the port of Burrishoole. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the harbour was a very busy one, with trade exceeding that of Galway. Clew Bay was even listed on Italian maps of the time. Despite its remoteness, friars from the Abbey travelled to the continent where they are recorded as having worked and studied in Spain, Belgium and France.