two order arch
1 angle-headed 4 squared
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Dromiskin Round Tower, Co. Louth
Dromiskin Round Tower
O.S. Map 36
Visited May 13, 2006
Location: Dromiskin is 10 km southeast of Dundalk just east of the N1. The
tower is in the grounds of the Church of Ireland in the center of the village, with parking just
outside the churchyard gates. The tower is just inside and to the right of the gates,
easily seen from the road.
Dimensions: A 30 cm offset is visible around the rear (NW) side of the tower,
where the ground slopes just a bit. Under the doorway, this offset cannot be seen.
Diameter at ground level is 5.22 m. Height of this stubby tower is still a reasonably
impressive 15.25 meters from ground level to the top of the low profile cap.
The doorway, facing ESE is 3.7 meters from the top of the offset. It is a two order door,
with the inner order arch containing five stones. The outer arch contains 11 stones. To
either side of the door are what appear to be much-weathered heads. This doorway also
appears to have once had columns to either side of the door with one surviving decorated
capital, also much-weathered. The granite arches and grey sandstone door jambs contrast with the slatey
composition of the rest of the tower. There is one small angle-headed window facing WNW
and four windows, as large as the doorway, roughly on the cardinal compass points
immediately under the cornice.
Features: This is a short stubby-looking tower with very large bell-storey
windows and a two order Romanesque doorway.
Comments: Dromiskin is an odd-looking tower, but somehow rather endearing with
all the history and mystery behind its appearance.
History: Tradition says the monastery here was founded by St. Patrick and
prospered under St. Ronan who died in 664. Dromiskin was plundered by the Irish
in 908, by the Danes in 978 and again by the Irish in 1043.
The upper portion of the tower appears
to have been adapted as a bell tower previous to 1758 when Wright sketched what he
felt was a reconstruction of the tower at it's full height. It is possible that
the tower was damaged in one of the many invasions and adapted early
on (possibly in the 12th century) as a bell tower and capped at that time.
A bell still hung in the
tower in 1835 but was no longer in use. Also in 1835, the Vestry Book shows a caretaker
living in a cabin at the base of the tower. The cabin was removed in 1841 when a
doorway into the base of the tower was blocked up. Looking carefully, this area is
still visible on the south side of the tower. During the winter of 1879-80, the OPW
did some repair work, stripping off ivy, repointing and resetting stones in the cap.
Other Items of Interest:In the churchyard, beside a 12th century gable and
foundation with a 15th century window, stands the head of a high cross mounted on a
modern shaft. The modern church dates from 1821.