Aghadoe Round Tower
At a Glance
County Kerry
OS Map 78
OS Coordinate V 935 927
Condition Stump
Height 3.4-5.4m
Doorway Type n/a
Window Type n/a
Number of Windows 0
Ground to Doorway n/a
Distinguishing Features Poorly Restored
Traditional Association St. Finnian
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Aghadoe Round Tower Co. Kerry

Aghadoe Round Tower
County Kerry
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 inscription "BRRUANANN". 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.

  © 2004-2005 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.