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Armoy Round Tower.

County Antrim.


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Armoy (Oirther Mai 'the east of the plain')
 

Armoy Round Tower stands in the grounds of St Patrick's Church of Ireland Church, it is all that remains of a monastery founded around 460 AD by Saint Olcán, a relative of the Dalriade king Tirechan and disciple of saint Patrick. Text from the late 7th century relate that Patrick consecrated Olcán bishop of Dun Sobairche (Dunseverick) and gave him a portion of the relics of Peter and Paul and others and a veil to protect the relics.

The tower now stands about 11 m (36 ft) high, its original height is unknown, it is thought it may have been as much as 6 m taller, it was built in the 11th or 12th century as a free standing bell tower. Sometime before 1869 the tower was modified to serve as belfry for the church, in 1869 the present bell tower of the church was built, making the tower redundant.

The narrow entrance door is now 1.6 m (5 ft 3in) above ground level origonally it would have been higher the groung level having been raised over the centuries. The inside of the tower was excevated in 1843 by Edmund Getty, he excevated to a depth of 3.6 m (11 ft 9in) below the level of the sill he uncovered a scull he believed to be that of a chief killed in battle, the scull had part of the spinal colum attached.

Roadworks in 1997 near the church uncovered a souterrain and an underground stone passage about 1,000 years old. A subsequent archaelogical execavation revealed evidence of a medeival building aligned north south beneath the present church. Many burials were found inside the modern church including the feet of a leper 400 to 500 years old.

In 2000 the Envoirment Read about Dunluce Castle.and heritage service renovated the tower, this inclused repointing the stonework and replacing some of the carved sandstone surrounding the entrance door.

The following text is taken from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland of 1837. "St. Patrick is said to have had a cell at this place, where, in attempting to convert the natives to Christianity, his disciple Uhda was killed. "

Read about the parish of Armoy from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland published in 1837.

Read about Armoy Round Tower from The Illustrated Dublin Penny Journal.