Irish Round Towers

Irish Round Towers

One of the lesser known, though widely referenced “mysteries” of Ireland are the so-called “Irish round towers” which you will see on Ireland tours.

Indeed, they are known as “Irish”, for they are believed to be an almost exclusively Irish phenomenon: there are approx seventy still standing in Ireland

They can be as high as high as 34 metres above the ground  , sometimes with a doorway four metres from the ground , or more than the height of two average men , traditionalists have seen in them as refuges.

The round tower of Cashel is one of the more impressive features of the plain of Tipperary. The tower dates from the 11th century and sits on a rock outcrop that has fortifications from the early 4th century, when it was the stronghold and ceremonial centre of a powerful clan.

The round tower of Glendalough is considered to be the most finely constructed and beautiful tower in all Ireland. Situated in the cleft of a steep and thickly forested valley, the 30 meter tall tower is not only one of the tallest, it is also built of mica schist with a granite doorway. Like Cashel, Glendalough was a sacred site: the ancient gathering place of pre-Christian hermits. The first Christian monastery was established by St. Kevin. Noting that St Patrick himself allegedly came to Cashel , the sites where the round towers were constructed, seem to be connected with early Christianity.

Devenish Island has its own round tower within the 5th Century monastery and can be accessed on our extended Belfast