Maghera

Round Tower

It is believed that St Domangard or Donard founded a monastery here in the early christian period c.500 AD. He lived as a hermit on Slieve Donard, a nearby mountain that is named after him. There are no antiquities remaining from the early foundation but excavations in 1965 produced evidence of occupation around the tower during the Early Christian period. The medieval church situated behind the more modern church probably dates to the 12th century. It is much harder to date the round tower as there are no features such as windows or doors that normally help in dating round towers. The tower, which is built from rough uncoursed granite field-stones similar to the tower at Castledermot, is believed to have fallen in the 18th century as a result of storm damage. All we see today is a 5.4 metre high stump with a large breech on the eastern side of the tower. This may represent the position of the doorway, suggesting a rather low entrance. The diameter of the tower at base level is 4.85 metres. The stones used in the building of the tower suggest a 10th century date but is not definite proof. We were both delighted to have made the effort to view this tower which promised little but turned out to be quite a charming tower.

Situated: From Newcastle head north on the Castlewellan Road (A50). After 1.5 Kilometres turn right onto the B180 for Maghera. Then 0.5 K turn right onto Carrigs Road. The Church and Tower are on your left.

Discovery Map 21: J 3706 3418. Last visit July 2013.

Longitude: 5° 53' 51" W

Latitude: 54° 14' 17" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Approx date: Possibly 10th century.

Dimensions: Height 5.4 m. Diameter: 4.85 m

Door: None. Type:Unknown.

Windows: None.

Features: Built from uncoursed granite field-stones.

Cap: Missing

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