Aghaviller Round Tower, Co. Kilkenny
Aghaviller Round Tower
O.S. Map 67
Location: S.E. of Kilkenny (approx. 20 km), N 10 south from Kilkenny to
Knocktopher, east on R 699, south on R 701. About 4 km from Knocktopher R 701 makes a
sharp bend to the right toward Kilmaganny. Just on the bend is a side road (almost
straight ahead but on the left as the turn is made). Aghaviller churchyard is
approximately 100 meters up this road on the right. Parking along the road is
recommended. The church is signposted, but the signpost has multiple destinations in
various directions and the sign is almost impossible to see except from the direction
of the Aghaviller church ruin. The very large castle-like church is the most visible
part of this site. The round tower is at the rear of the graveyard.
Dimensions: One offset is obvious above an unusual square stone plinth.
Circumference is just under 15.5 meters above this offset. The slate-colored
sandstone is beautifully coursed and dressed to the curve inside and out.
The almost-level top is 9.6 meters above ground level at it's highest point.
The original NE-facing doorway is over 4 meters above the present ground level. It has a
three stone arch, with a particularly fine keystone. Each 4 stone jamb has a slightly
raised plain molding that carries across the sill stone, but not through the keystone.
There is a single square-headed window facing southwest at the second storey level.
The lower doorway is certainly not original to the tower and was probably inserted as
access for installation of a bell for the church.
Features: The offset for this tower is built on a square stone plinth, similar
to the nearby Kilree tower.
Comments: This site is adjacent to a dense wood and on an overcast day can be very
creepy feeling. There is a mural stairway leading to the residential floor above the
church from which the round tower can be viewed from above.
History: Nothing is known of the monastery here or who founded it.
The first known reference to the round tower is in the Statistical Survey of 1802.
The original doorway was blocked up then and was still sealed in 1839.
Other Items of Interest: The 12th century church with a 15th century residential
addition dominates the site. Nearby (at the side of R 701) is a holy well. Just
down the road another 100 meters or so is Castlemorres Demesne, an area of about 500
acres and home to the Castle Morres Pheasant Shoot.