Roscrea, Round Tower, Co. Tipperary.

Location – In the centre of Roscrea, opposite the remains of a Romanesque church and High Cross.  I suspect that all three sites are related and belong together as part of one ecclesiastical site but I will treat them separately as they all warrant individual attention.
OS: S 137 895. (map 60)
Longitude: 7° 47' 46.06" W
Latitude: 52° 57' 22.16" N
GPS: S 13779 89414 (Elevation: 92m - Accuracy: 7m) 

Description and History – The round tower is part of a larger ecclesiastical site in Roscrea which goes back to the 7th century and was founded by St Cronan.  The Roscrea brooch (in the National Museum of Ireland) and the Book of Dimma (in Trinity College Dublin) are from this foundation.  The original monastery was founded near Monaincha Abbey but was moved to Roscrea to make it more accessible as the town was on the ‘Slighe Dala’ which was one of the main roads leading from Tara.

The round tower is contemporary with the remains of the church and date to the 12th century and was struck by lightning shortly after construction.  The tower is roughly 6 storeys high and made of sandstone. There are three windows on the tower and one doorway which are all high up, of course.  The tower was 6m higher but was shortened after the 1798 rebellion after rebels used the tower to snipe at the castle.  Until 1812 it was used as a bell tower when the present Church of Ireland church was constructed and the Romanesque church demolished.

Difficulty – Easy to get to and the Roscrea museum is located in the old mills next door which has many interesting pieces.

For more round towers, click here.
For more sites in Co. Tipperary, click here.
For more sites in and around Roscrea, click here.