Drumbo Round Tower Co. Down
Drumbo Round Tower
O.S. Maps 15 & 20
Visited May 14, 2006
Location: Drumbo is south east of Belfast off the B23. Signposts to the
village are scarce and often face in one direction only. In the center of the
village, in the graveyard of the Presbyterian Church, stands this truncated tower.
Dimensions: No offset is visible at the base.
The diameter is 5 meters and the tower is just 10.25 meters tall. The east-facing doorway is very low, just 1.5
meters above the present ground level on the east and slopes another .4 meters on the west.
The stone around the doorway is weathering badly, however it apparently is no longer in danger
of collapsing. Recent repairs have replaced the doorsill with concrete and missing stones
have been fitted. The new repair has been outlined in rounded white quartz pebbles
deliberately. Both the definitive books on round towers by Barrow and Lalor state that
Drumbo tower has no windows, yet on our May 2006 visit, there is clearly a small lintelled window
on the north side of the rebuilt top section of the tower. It appears that a majority
of the tower has been long covered in vegetation and there are many roots still
evident within the window, so it is entirely probable that this window has only become
visible within the last seven years.
Features: The walls of the drum appear slightly concave, giving it the appearance of
a nuclear cooling tower.
History: In the visitation Book of
1622, the tower is listed as being in a ruinous condition and by 1744 Harris described
it as being in a similar condition to it's present state. The top was rebuilt sometime between
1843 and 1899. The difference in stone is noticeable. Excavations in December of 1841 under the
direction of the Rev. Horatio Maunsell concluded that the tower had been built on the site
of an early graveyard - probably pagan rather than Christian considering the orientation
of at least one body.
Other Items of Interest: There appears to be nothing left of the early monastery
beyond the round tower.