Complete w/ battlements
1 semi-angles, 6 lintelled, 4 in bell storey
castellated top, projecting corbels or gutters
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Kilree Round Tower Co. Kilkenny
Kilree Round Tower
O.S. Map 67
Location: About four km southeast of the village of Kells on a side road just
off of R 697, west of Stonyford on N 10. The side road is signposted for Kells Priory as well as Kilree.
About 14 km due south of Kilkenny.
The round tower lies at the back of a fairly heavily wooded cemetery, bisected by the
wall that separates the the complex from surrounding open fields.
Dimensions: On the cemetery side of the tower, no offset is visible. The field side
ground level is considerably lower, however and two offsets are exposed on this west
side. The upper offset is shallower, about 10 cm wide and 5 cm high. The lower offset
extends an additional 3 - 4 cm and is approx. 20 cm high. Beneath these offsets is a
squared-off base - very plinth-like. Above the offsets, the tower is 15.28 meters in
circumference, giving it a diameter of 4.86 meters. Height is between 26 and 27 meters,
depending on which ground level it is measured from. The arched doorway is 1.64 meters
cemetery ground level and faces south. Simple raised moulding frames the sandstone
doorway. The east facing lowest window appears to have been angle-headed at one time, but may
have collapsed. It appears to be presently supported with red sandstone supports. The
other two windows in the drum are to the north and east, both lintelled. The bell-storey
has four lintelled windows facing the compass points. At the time of the 2004 visit,
vines were beginning to obscure their outline, but at least two of these windows appeared
to have broken framing stones. The capless tower has unstepped battlements, below which
are pronounced protrusions, probably drainage spouts.
Features: Capless, battlemented tower. The doorway is relatively low to the
present cemetery ground level. The squared, plinth-like foundation is unusual, the only
other tower with a similar base being at nearby Aghaviller.
Comments: The cemetery itself is heavily wooded, giving it a hushed, surrealistic
and almost haunted feel.
History: The tower doorway faces the ruin of an early church with pronounced antae,
though nothing appears to be known of the monastery here. The church and lands were
transferred to the Priory of Kells in the 13th century. Until then, they had been the
property of the dean and chapter of the Ossory.
Other Items of Interest: There is a 2.75 meter sandstone Highcross across
the field to the west of the tower. It is said to be of 9th century origin, badly weathered
but still beautifully carved with bosses, ornament, interlace and what were once some