missing bell-storey and cap
one angle-headed, 3 lintelled
large 2nd floor window
St. Columb, St. Caimin
-- Holding a mouse over a thumbnail picture will "popup" information
for many of the pictures
-- Clicking ON the thumbnail picture will load up a 1024x780 version
of that picture
Iniscealtra Round Tower, Co. Clare
Iniscealtra Round Tower - Holy Island
O.S. Map 58
Visited May 21st, 2006
Location: Northeast of Scarriff along the R 352 off the western shore of Lough
Derg. There are at least two ferry companies taking boats to the Holy Island, but
whether they are in service depends on the weather and the time of year. High Tourist
Season is most likely to find them running on a daily basis. One port is about 4 km
from Sacrriff. The other is along the quay at the southernmost tip of MountShannon.
Both ferrys are signposted.
Dimensions: Because we could not observe firsthand this tower except from a
great distance, I must defer to others for information. There is an offset at the
base, said to be .3 meters high. The tower rises 22 meters above this, or 22.3 meters
above the present ground level. The external diameter is 4.58 meters. The ENE-facing
arched doorway is 3.3 meters above the ground. The three stones in its arch run the
entire depth of the doorway. The north-facing angle-headed window at about the second
floor level is especially well cut with finely dressed stone. This would be in keeping
with the traditional Treasury floor, therefore a more important window than others in
the drum. Three lintelled windows light the remaining stories in ascending order facing
ENE, SSW and NW.
Features: One of a handful of island round towers still existing.
Comments: I was so looking forward to finally seeing Iniscealtra after seeing
everyone else's pictures. There is so much to see here. But, aside from the weather
being truly vile, the ferry runs daily only in July and August and on weekends April to
September. It wasn't running because of weather and we would be far away the following
weekend. We had to be content to take photos from afar.
History:The island is said to have been occupied by at least one hermit in the
6th century before St. Columb established a monastery there. Later in that century,
the community was re-established by St. Caimin, half-brother of the 7th century king of
Connacht, Guaire, who died in 653. It was burned by the Vikings in 836 and 922 and eventually came under
the patronage and protection of Brian Boru who installed his brother Marcan as abbott.
First mention of the tower was by the Ordinance Survey in 1838 who described the tower
as appearing much as it does today. A local man, Liam de Paor, excavated the area
between the tower and the church in 1976, exposing the base of the north side of the tower.
Other Items of Interest: Maps of the island show that in addition to the round
tower, there are six churches, seven bullaun stones, many 8th to 12th century grave slabs,
a holy well, and a "bargaining stone" - a large stone with a hole through which
people could join hands.