Friday, March 31, 2017

Drumbo Round Tower

Drumbo Round Tower is all that remains of an early Christian site, which originally dated back to the times of St Patrick.  

The tower rises to a height of just over 10.6 meters.  The doorway is 1.5 meters from ground level (which is very low for a round towers doorway).

Inside the tower, beam holes are visible indicating that the towers floors were of timber.

Records show the tower was severely damaged in the 11th Century.

Restoration work has been carried out on the tower with the top rebuilt in the 18th Century.

Access - The tower can be found within the grounds of the local Presbyterian church.
Parking can be found within a short walk to the graveyard and tower.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Knocknaneirk SW Stone Circle

When you arrive at Knocknaneirk SW Stone Circle, the site looks to have a real wow factor about it.
Sadly as get closer you will see the circle is missing a number of stones on the south side.  

From the stones that remain it looks like the circle would have had a diameter close to 15 meters.

The stones that survive vary between 1.3 meters and 1.5 meters in height.

The area this circle is located in has many other sites close by, but this circle is still worth seeking out as the remaining stones have a nice character about them.

Access - The circle can be seen from the road.
Parking can be found beside the wooden gate which leads into the site.

In other images I have seen of this site it would appear that cattle are sometimes kept here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kilmallock Round Tower

This much altered round tower is all that remains from an earlier site that dates back to the
7th Century Monastery built by St Mocheallog.

The round tower is dated sometime between the 10th and 11th Century and has now the later west wall of the church built around it.

The towers original stone work can be best viewed from outside the church at the base (image 2).

From a couple of meters up the tower changes in masonry and appearance, with the medieval work carried out on the tower becoming more obvious the higher you go.

The round tower of Kilmallock has been much altered and as a result is very different from other towers to be found in Ireland.

The Collegiate Church which is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul was built in the 13th Century.

As I was stuck for time on the day of my visit and was intent on making the tower shots a priority I did not get to explore the church or any of the other great sites in Kilmallock.

Access - The tower is located just off the main street in Kilmallock, the streets are narrow but parking can be found without great difficulty.     


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Srah Castle

The striking but dangerous ruin of Srah Castle can be found a short walk from Tullamore town along the Grand Canal.

Built in 1588 by John Briscoe (an Elizabethan officer from Cumberland).

The four storey tower is 20 meters high and has the ruin of a 17th Century house attached on the NW corner.

Some of the features of this ruin are a Bartizan, gun loops and a Machicolation (which was used for dropping rocks and boiling liquids on attackers of the castle) Image 6 shows these features.

Despite being well fortified the castle was badly damaged in 1650 in the Cromwell campaigns.

The inside of the ruin has a broken spiral staircase (image 3) this may have been broken recently on safety grounds.

Access - The castle can be spotted as you walk along the canal, an easy enough fence to climb brings you into the field where the ruin is.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kilmaclenine Wedge Tomb

The beautifully preserved tomb of Kilmaclenine can be found in its own somewhat bumpy enclosure.

The fact that the tomb sits surrounded by these mini hills has probably helped preserve and protect this fine site.

The tomb has a giant capstone which is 2 meters in width 3 meters in length and is 0.3 meters in thickness.
The two large side stones and the back stone are 1.5 meters in height, it is possible to stand inside the tomb for someone under 1.8 meters.

Access -
The tomb can be found up a lane way just beside a modern bungalow,  parking is available beside the site. On the day of my visit I had the pleasure of two chatty dogs who were very keen to pose beside the tomb.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Antrim Round Tower

Antrim Round Tower is an impressive 28 metre tall tower that is dated around the 10th Century.     
The tower is known locally as The Steeple. 
The doorway is over 2 meters from ground level.
Above the doorway features a carving of a Celtic cross (image 3).

The site is all that remains of a monastic settlement which dates as far back as 495 AD and is said to have been founded by St Aeibh. 

The Annals of the Four Masters report that the site was destroyed in 1018 and burned in 1147.

The area was landscaped during the 19th century and parts of the settlement were demolished and cleared away.

The  surrounding area was turned into a private Demise and repairs were carried out on the tower at this time.

A large boulder known as the Witch's Stone, with two bullauns lies approximately 6 meters from the tower

Access  - The tower is located in parkland that can be accessed from Steeple Road.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Claregalway Friary

The vast ruin of Clairegalway Friary stands overlooking the river Claire as you leave the village of Clairegalway travelling north on the N17.

The Friary dates back to the 13th Century and was built by John de Cogan.
The Franciscan community lived under the patronage of the de Cogan clan until 1327, when
de Cogan gave them the building and surrounding lands.

The following years saw the friary flourish in numbers and wealth.

The ruined state of the friary is mostly a result of two major happenings in the 16th Century.
In 1538 Henry VIII sent Lord Leonard Gray to Galway.
It is recorded that the friary at Claregalway was rifled by Gray’s troops on their way to Galway.
In 1589 Sir Richard Bingham, the English governor of Connaught,  cleared the friary and used the building as a barracks.

By 1641 the Franciscans had returned to the friary.
A failed attempt was made to rebuild.
From then on their numbers declined so that by 1838 the friary was down to two members.    

In 1892 Lord Clanmorris donated the property to the Commissioner of Public Works

The Franciscan friary consists of a nave,choir, north aisle and transept. 
The square bell tower is the most striking feature of the friary and is dated to the 15th Century.
It is 24 meters in height.
All other parts that survive today of the structure were built in phases during the friary's time of prosperity.

Access - The friary can be spotted from the main road (on your left) as you leave Claregalway heading north on the N17.
Parking can be found in the car park which is right beside the graveyard and ruin.