Kinneigh Round Tower Co. Cork
Kinneigh Round Tower
O.S. Map 86
Cionn Eich: The head/headland of the horse
Location: The unique Kinneigh Tower is located approx. 5 km northwest of the
villages of Enniskean and Ballineen in West Cork on a side road just to the south of R 588.
It stands on a rock outcropping overlooking St. Bartholomew's C. of I. parish church
Dimensions: The entire tower is composed of local slate.
There are two offsets above the rock outcropping on which the tower
is built. The top offset is approx. 5 cm wide and 10 cm high. The lower offset is
approx. 15 cm wide and averages approx. 40 cm high.
The door is about 4 meters above the ground facing northeast and is near the top and
center of one of the hexagons at the first floor level. The lintel of this doorway is
massive. Just above the doorway, the tower transitions from the hexagonal base to
the round drum by means of clever and skilled mason work. The tower is roofed and the bell
has been removed to the old fort at Kinsale for safekeeping, according to the current Rector, The Reverend Judith Frances Hubbard.
The Kinneigh Union of Parishes has a fine
website with a newspaper article about the tower.
The final five feet of the drum is evidently a
later addition as the work is irregular and projects a bit at some points. From the
base of the lower offset to the top of the drum is approx. 21.5 meters. There are four
very small square windows in the drum facing, in ascending order, ESE, W, NNE and S.
There are no traditional bell-storey windows, and whether any existed in the past
is impossible to know.
Features: It is the only round tower that is constructed hexagonally for the lower
six meters, then making a transition to the typical round form for the remainder of its
height. It may be assumed that this tower once sported the traditional conical cap, but none presently
exists. Photographs from the early 19th century show no cap, so this typical feature - if it ever existed -
has been missing for a considerable time.
Comments: There is no longer access to the interior of the tower for safety reasons. The
bell described as being embossed with "J Murphy Founder Dublin 1856" and
decorated with a harp with a crown above it and a shamrock below was removed when the tower was roofed,
as it was too large for the structure.
History: From an article in 2000 by Sam Kingston in the Southern Star: "The
monastery at Kinneigh was founded by St. Mocholmóg in the year 619, according to the
'Annals of Cork'. It was situated about half a mile west of the present site of the
Round Tower. Very little of its history is known and only a fragment of the walls of
the old building remains. But the wall or fence that surrounded the monastery grounds,
enclosing about 16 acres, still exists and the Castle Rock was within the monastery
grounds. Within the grounds was an old cemetery and another part of the grounds was
known as the "Abhalgort" or Orchard." A lightning strike in 1837 caused a fissure on
the south side and was most likely repaired as the bell was installed around 1857
when the present church was built. The tower attained National Monument status within
the last decade and in 2000 the OPW did some extensive preservation work. The outside
access ladder was removed for safety though the stabilized interior ladders between
floors apparently still exist.
Other Items of Interest: St. Batholomew's is a beautiful church typical of
it's time period of the mid 19th century. It was undergoing some renovation work at the time of our 2004 visit.