Kilmacduagh Monastic Site


Round Tower

At over 34 metres in height, Ireland's tallest round tower totally dominates the monastic complex at Kilmacduagh. We could see the tower from a good distance away as we approached the site. This rather unique monument has a number of very distinctive features. There are a total of 11 angle-headed windows present in the tower, some of which have been restored. Probably the most obvious feature of the tower is the very noticeable lean, over 1/2 metre, towards the south-west. The conical cap, which collapsed in 1859 and restored in 1878, overhangs the drum slightly.


The walls of the tower are believed to be almost 2 metres thick at the base. Because of the thickness of the walls and the height of the tower we were not surprised to learn that the monument has a diameter of over 5.5 metres. Amazingly the foundations are only 60 centimetres deep. Another rather striking feature is the height of the doorway. It stands at over 8 metres above ground level. This raises the unanswered question about access to the tower -obviously they did not use a 8 metre high wooden ladder and it would have been quite a feat to scale the tower using a rope ladder. Sadly the weather changed for the worst during our visit, but hopefully we will drop by Kilmacduagh again in the near future.

The Round Tower

The leaning tower

Situated: From Gort in Galway head southwest on the R460 for 6 kilometres.

Discovery Map 52: M 4046 0009. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 8° 53' 16" W

Latitude: 53° 2' 54" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

Approx date: 11/12th Century

Dimensions: Height 34.8 m. Diameter: 5.7 m

Door: Above ground 8 m. Type: Round

Windows: Eleven. All angle-headed.

Features: Height of doorway, 6 windows in the bell-storey.

Cap: Conical, restored.

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