Clones Round Tower
At a Glance
County Monaghan
OS Map 27 & 28A
OS Coordinate H 501 256
Condition missing cap
Height 22.9 m
Doorway Type roughly lintelled
Window Type lintelled
Number of Windows 7
Ground to Doorway 1.65 m
Distinguishing Features none
Traditional Association St.Tighernach
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Clones Round Tower, Co. Monaghan

north facing window east side of tower
east side of tower east side of tower east-facing doorway east facing base of tower east facing base of tower east facing base of tower
east-facing doorway east-facing doorway east-facing doorway east-facing doorway
south side of tower south side of tower south side of tower south side of tower south side of tower
southwest base of tower and south wall southwest side of tower west side of tower north base of tower with north wall north side of tower north side of tower
north facing window north side of tower with north wall north side of tower northeast base of tower with north wall northeast side of tower

Clones Round Tower
County Monaghan
O.S. Map 27 & 28A
Visited May 23, 2006

Location: The N54 into Clones. From the town square, take the main road downhill and turn left into a side street. There is an entrance from a right-side lane near the round tower, or at the main gates from the opposite side of the small cemetery.

Dimensions: There is a visible offset, approximately 20 cm high and 12 cm wide on the south west base of the tower, outside the graveyard wall near a viewing walkway. The tower is 15.4 m at the lowest point that it can be accurately measured, due to the bisecting walls. Height is just under 22.9 meters from the offset. The east-facing doorway is 1.64 meters above the present cemetery level and 2.12 m above the offset. Small lintelled windows face - in ascending order - S, N and E with the traditional four bell-storey windows at the cardinal compass points.

Features: The tower is composed of a purplish-colored sandstone

Comments: While this is a nice enough round tower at virtually it's full height, of more interest are the headstones in the well-maintained cemetery - many from the17th and mid 18th century. They feature rounded crosses with skulls and crossed bones and coffins, hour glasses and bells; all symbols of mortality. Some feature the well carved coats of arms of early prominent citizens.

History: The monastery at Clones was founded by St. Tighernach who died in the mid sixth century. The Annals record the destruction of "all it's churches" in 836, but there is no mention of the round tower. Getty did an excavation in the 1840's below the debris-filled sill level of the tower. The results were inconclusive, as human bones that were found at the extreme lowest level (below the level of the external offset) could have come from either a burial ground that the tower was built upon or from graveyard debris used as infilling.

Other Items of Interest: Along with the early headstones in the churchyard is the Shrine of St. Tighernach. It is carved in the shape of a house complete with finials from a single stone. One of the gables features a figure (St. Tighernach?) with outstretched arms. Not far from the graveyard where the round tower stands, is another churchyard containing "the Abbey". It is the ruin of a 12th century nave and chancel church and the graveyard also contains early headstones.

  © 2004-2006 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.