If it was whole, Dunbrody Abbey would be beautiful. However, the ruin stands, like so many monastic ruins throughout Ireland, a magnificently sculpted limestone outcrop in the middle of a field; majestic in its isolation and its remains; lichened to the colours of the Irish sky; colours that nature knows befit the Irish landscape .
If it was whole, all that it is would be before you. As it is, you must rebuild, refurbish, re-carve. Here and there small ornamental flourishes survive in its stonework; imagination kicks in, but it is too great a task to restore all that wonderful ornamentation; enough to know that it was there. Searching out these small details becomes a treasure hunt.
If it was whole, the roof would exclude the sky and the light; the lancet windows would be of stained glass not of moving clouds, the floor would be darkly flagged, the recesses as black as caves. Today it is a flood of glorious daylight.