Iniskeen Round Tower, Co. Monaghan
Iniskeen Round Tower
O.S. Map 36
Visited May 13, 2006
Location: Inishkeen village sits north of R178 halfway between Dundalk and Carrickmacross. The roundtower stands in
a quiet graveyard along the road and beside a park along the River Fane.
It is not far past the Patrick Kavanaugh Center where the famous poet is buried.
Dimensions: Due to the tower being surrounded by a cement walkway, there is no
offset visible at the base of the tower. The unusually tubular tower flares out slightly
at the top. The lintelled doorway faces ESE and is 4.1 meters above the walkway. There
are no windows, but a cornice of some sort exists. It is reported that the top is now
capped by a flat brick and cement roof.
Features: None noted
Comments: This tower is about as plain as can be, resembling a cardboard paper
towel roll with a rectangle cut into it. While the park-like setting is very pretty, there is
little of interest about either the tower or the churchyard in which it stands.
History: There is no early reference to this round tower and little is known about
the early monastery here. It is reputed to have been founded by St. Dega, who was a pupil
of St. Kieran of Clonmacnoise. Reportedly, about 1.5 meters was removed from the top
of the tower in the early 19th century so that it could be fitted with an arch to hang
a bell. Removed sometime before the 1840's, there was noticeable damage to the stonework
from the weight of the arch and bell. Further damage was done when a doorway was created
at the base of the tower. It was said that a hole was created when a builder obtained some
of the stone for a bridge. The doorway has been blocked up on the outside of the tower, and the
height was reinstated by the OPW in 1909. Further repairs were completed in 1973.
The repairs were done well, but are very evident
in both the upper and lower portions of the tower.
Other Items of Interest: There is a nice walking trail in the adjacent park.