Irish Round Tower
Often called a gothic tower, this one was built in the 11th century and sits 30.5 meters (100 feet) tall. It can be found in the early medieval monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in Glendalough.
Glendalough (pronounced “Glenn-dah-loch”), is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park outside of Dublin, Ireland.
Note the “window” near the bottom.
This is actually the main -and only- door to the tower and is located about 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) from the base.
(the following story is roughly summarized from the tour company video below) :
As you may know, the Vikings had a lot of interest in the Celtic Isles and have raided this area a bit “back in the day.” Round towers were built as a place to hide from the Vikings, and the doorway was built to high up so that the Vikings could not get in. You can learn more by watching this video by Viator:
~~ ~~ ~~ THIS IS FALSE ~~ ~~ ~~
There are a number of stories about the creation of the towers. The one above, is actually told by a number of tour guides. IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE! Aren’t the Vikings smart enough to figure out how to get in that doorway if they wanted to? Or they could set the wooden door on fire and smoke out/kill everyone who was “hiding” in the tower.
Yes, the towers were often used as lookout or bell towers, but the doorway was built that high up -oh I don’t know- perhaps because the tower is freaking tall and built with little to no foundation! If there were a
door big hole in the bottom portion of the tower, it would be much less structurally secure.
Also, the towers were the libraries, the record-keeping rooms, and the keeper of all things important. Having the door so high up meant that the tower would be much less likely to flood, and everything kept on the first floor (now 3.5m up) would be dry and happy.
The tower is constructed of mica-slate and granite
Just look at the detail on that cross! Beautiful!
Thank you for visiting and learning a little about the round tower and the monastery in Glendalough.
Love Ireland? Click here to check out my post about St. Paddy’s Day (and learn why it’s “St. Paddy” and not “St. Patty”)
- Have you heard any other incorrect stories about the use of the round towers? Or would you like to make one up?