Round Tower

On my last journey down the M8 I was so impressed by the sight of the round tower at Grangefertagh lit by the evening sun I decided next time I would have to make a special effort to view the tower more closely. The tower stands 31 metres tall and forms a striking image towering above the Kilkenny countryside. There are nine windows in total , six angle headed and three lintelled. Four of the angle headed windows are on the top storey facing the four cardinal points. The tower is complete to the cornice but only part of the cap remains, see image below.

The northeast facing doorway which is situated 3.3 metres above ground level has been badly damaged. A farmer removed the original stones and used them to form a fireplace, mistakenly believing they were fireproof. A modern doorway has been inserted by the O.P.W. The round tower is the last remnant of the early monastery founded by St Ciaran of Seir in the 6th century. It was raided by vikings in 861 and in 1156 the high king Murtagh McNeale burned the tower with the lector inside. To the north of the tower is a church that belonged to the 13th century monastery founded by the Blanchevilles for the Canons Regular of St Augustine.


Entrance to grounds

Situated: From the M8 take exit 4 for Johnstown. Then in Johnstown turn left onto the R693. After 3.5 kilometres turn left. The tower is 800 metres down this road.

Discovery Map 60: S 3071 6980. Last visit June 2013.

Longitude: 7° 32' 41" W

Latitude: 52° 46' 42" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Approx date: 11th Century

Dimensions: Height 31 m. Diameter: 4.77 m

Door: Above ground 3.3m. Type: Arched.

Windows: Nine. 6 angle headed and 3 lintelled.

Features: Height.

Cap: Part of cap remains.

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