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Monastic Sites in Ireland.


Donaghmore Church and Round Tower.

Co Meath

Domnach-mor muighe Echnach

A monastery was reputedly founded on the site of Donaghmore Round Tower in the 5th century and left it in the care of Saint Cassan. Nothing visible on the site today dates from this period, the tower is thought to date from the 11th or 12th centuries, it was unsympathetically restored in 1843. The tower rises to a height of 26 meters (85ft 2") and is about 5 meters diameter (16ft 5") at the base, with the east facing doorway about 3.3 meters (10ft 9") above ground level this was a common feature of Irish round towers, see image on the right.

Donaghmore church and tower is situated about one mile from Navan on the road to Slane, the present church dates from the thirteenth century, typical of of the style of architecture erected by the Anglo Normans in that period.

The round tower can most likely be attributed to the period of Viking invasions in the ninth and tenth centuries, Donaghmore Round Tower at the round tower at Kells monastery, founded by St. Columbkille in the sixth century have many architectural features in common, some scholars are of the opinion that the towers may have shared common architects or builders. That is not to say that they were built in the sixth century, round towers in Ireland only began to appear around 900 AD, most likely as a response to Viking raids although as history tells the Irish were not adverse to attacking each other, even the saintly monastery's occasionally went to war.

Co Meath
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See also our article on Irish Round Towers.

Go to ecclesiastical sites in County Meath.