full height/ capless
2 lintelled, 1 angle-headed, 1 arched
St. Patrick/St. Cassanus
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Donaghmore Round Tower Co. Meath
Donaghmore Round Tower in 1982
(Photo courtesy of R. Oram - All rights reserved)
Donaghmore Round Tower
O.S. Map 42
Location: Donaghmore is on a side road just off N51 (Navan to Slane Road)
approximately 3 km northeast of Navan. It is visible from N51 and signposted. There
is a fairly large carpark on site through a gateway on the left of the side road.
It's easy to miss, as it was screened by large trees in 2003.
The road is very narrow so if you miss the carpark, you may have to turn around via private
Dimensions: The tower sits on two offsets. The top offset is approx. six cm wide
and 20 cm above the lower offset, which also is approx. 4 to 6 cm wide and another 20 cm.
Due to the uneven ground, the depth of this base offset varies. Height of this tower is
just over 26 meters, if the small bit of the cap that exists is included in the measurement.
It is 15.65 meters in circumference, giving it a diameter of almost 5 meters. The east-
facing doorway is about 3.4 meters above ground level, arched with three stones and with
four stones in each jamb. There are four windows which, in order, are a south-facing
lintelled window, angle-headed east window, an arched west window and another lintelled
window just below what would be considered the bell-storey.
Features: A double raised rounded moulding surrounds the doorway of this tower.
To either side of the opening are carvings of much-weathered heads. On the stone above
the arch is a raised relief of a crucified Christ, also much weathered. The tower was
reportedly repaired by an owner in 1841 and some restoration work also done by the OPW
at a later date. Early drawings from the 18th century show the cap missing and damage
near the top of the tower. Whether the bell-storey windows were missing before the
time of repairs is not very clear (a drawing purportedly exists which shows just two
windows), but the absence of the common bell-storey windows makes this tower instantly
Comments: This site caught our attention because it was visible from quite far
away. The cemetery in which the tower sits is quite small but is beautifully maintained.
History: The original monastery at this site is attributed to St. Patrick who
gave a disciple, St. Cassanus, charge of it. The beautifully coursed limestone tower
is unique in it's absence of bell-storey windows, though the windows that do exist
face the traditional cardinal compass points. Barrow reports a plaque in the interior
opposite the doorway which states that the landowner, Mr. Thomas Rothwell, repaired and
restored the tower to it's original form in 1841. When the OPW took charge some thirty
years later, the tower was reportedly in good repair, although it's cap had fallen in.
Other Items of Interest: Also in the cemetery is the gable wall of a 15th century
medieval church which retains the arches for two bells.