Aghadoe Round Tower Co. Kerry
Aghadoe Round Tower
Achadh Da' Eo (The Field of the Two Yews)
O.S. Map 78
Location: On Aghadoe Heights two miles NNW of Killarney, commanding a superb panorama
of lakes and mountains. The tower stands overhanging the road on the northern ridge of
an old cemetery. A new hotel (2004) is being built almost directly across the street,
however, which ruins some of the ambience of the site.
Take the bypass around the north edge of Killarney town on N22, at the roundabout continue
past the N72 exit and continue north on N22. Within about 1/3 of a km, take the left
towards Aghadoe Crossroads and then the first left. This will bring you uphill to a
commanding view overlooking Killarney.
Ross Castle can be seen in the distance to
the SE. Aghadoe Church
and round tower will be on the left in the old cemetery.
Dimensions: Circumference at the top of the cemetery wall is 14.46m. Internal
diameter at the lowest level of the top is 2.28m and the wall is 1.14m thick. Height
(including some restoration at the top) varies from 3.40 - 5.50m above the lowest ground
in the cemetery. The road is approx. a meter lower than the level of the cemetery.
The base dimensions of this tower are comparable to those at Rattoo indicating that
it may have originally stood at close to the same height of 30m.
Features: No doorway or windows survive on this tower and there are few, if
any distinguishing features.
Comments: The stump of this round tower is all that remains. There has been
obvious restoration done. Early drawings and photographs show much of the facing
stone missing. The tower is built of sandstone, dressed to the curve but irregular
in size and coursing. The repair work appears to be accomplished with the use of
smaller stones and the large pinkish/red stones are original to the tower. At the time
of visits in 2003 and 2004, the tower appeared to have been recently cleaned as there
was no vegetation growing anywhere on the stone and minimal lichen growth.
History: According to Barrow: The monastery was traditionally founded by St.
Finnian the Leper in the 7th century but hardly anything is known about it. The present
large ruined church
dates from the 12th century. There is no known reference to the
round tower until the 19th century when attention was drawn to it's situation. Perhaps
this is when the conservation efforts occurred.
Other Items of Interest: Outside the doorway of the
church ruin stands a fine
large bullaun stone with a single, centrally placed cup. According to the sign posted
at the site, the present church was probably completed by Amhlaoibh O' Donoghue in 1158
and dedicated to the Holy Trinity and St. Mary. Above the double lancet windows dating
from the 13th century at the east end of the church are carvings of a head (St. Finnian?)
and a stylized marigold flower found throughout Irish carvings. There is a carved
Romanesque doorway on the west side of the church, reputedly rebuilt in the 18th or
19th century. Built into the south wall of the church ruin is an
Ogham stone with the
Also built into the south wall is a stone with an 18th century carving of the crucifixion
and another stone with carvings that echo somewhat the design on the Romanesque doorway.