Killala Round Tower
At a Glance
County Mayo
OS Map 24
OS Coordinate G 204 301
Condition Complete
Height 25.5m
Doorway Type Arched
Window Type 3 lintelled , 4 angle-headed
Number of Windows 7
Ground to Doorway 4m
Distinguishing Features noticeable bulge in SW
Traditional Association St. Patrick, St. Muiredach
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Killala Round Tower Co. Mayo


Killala Round Tower
County Mayo
O.S. Map 24

Location: Killala sits on the western central edge of Killala Bay on R 314 and the Western Way. The round tower is in the center of the village of Killala, just up a side street and is signposted, though its location is obvious from all approaches.

Dimensions: According to Barrow, Killala tower sits on an offset that is more like a plinth, comprised of 20 large stones with smaller stones below them to ground. As the gate to the tower area was tightly locked on our 2004 visit, this could not be confirmed, but assume it has not changed since Barrow's book was published in 1979. Circumference is listed as 15.78 meters (diameter of 5.02). The arched doorway faces SSE and is between 2.98 and 3.8 meters up, depending on whether its height is measured from the plinthlike offset or the ground level. There are three lintelled windows in the drum face (in ascending order) ENE, SSE and W. The traditional four windows in the bell storey are angle-headed and do not face the cardinal compass points, but are slightly skewed, facing NNE, ESE, SSW,and WNW.

Features: The tower is composed of limestone, many of the stones being quite large. The doorway is devoid of decoration, however the three stone arch of the doorway is composed of a a light brown sandstone, contrasting with the grey of the rest of the doorway and tower. These sandstone blocks carry through the entire depth of the doorway. About halfway up the drum of the tower, is a noticeable bulge in the stonework. Reports in 1779 mention a damaged roof and damage midway up the tower from lightning. The OPW did some repair work in 1841. Though reports are not specific, the cap and wall were repaired at this time.

Comments: In proportion and overall appearance, this is as pretty a round tower as you are likely to find anywhere in the country. Ample parking is just outside the gate off the side street.

History: Traditionally, the monastery was founded by St. Patrick who was rumored to have spent part of his captivity near here. He appointed St. Muiredach as the first Bishop.

Other Items of Interest: There is a large souterrain in the cathedral grounds.

  © 2005 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.