In the Round


A monastery is said to have been established by Saint Mochua in Timahoe, County Laois during the seventh century. Not much is known about the site, except that the church here was burnt twice, in 919 and again in 1142, before the religious house was re-founded by the dominant family of the area, the O’Mores. Following the 16th century Dissolution of the Monasteries, parts of the site were converted into a church, the remains of which can be seen on the left: to the right is a 19th century former church of Ireland premises, now in use as a heritage centre. The most interesting feature here is the mid-12th century round tower, exceptionally well-preserved  and rising almost 96 feet. The Romanesque doorway, more elaborately carved than is often the case with round towers, is sixteen feet above the ground.

5 comments on “In the Round

  1. Lord Walter FitzGerald produced a plan of the castle in JKAS. An old engraving shows the predecessor of the C19th church (which is attributed by Cormac Allen to JJ Welland). There is a motte across the field. Beautiful photos. A very peaceful spot.

  2. Paul Cusack says:

    Robert, you really deserve great credit for your dedication and generosity in opening our eyes to the hidden treasures that surround us. Thank you.

  3. Warren J Hurley says:

    Why was the doorway set 16 feet from the ground?

    • Thank you for getting in touch. No one is quite sure why the doorway here – and in other round towers – was set so high above the ground but one frequently proposed explanation is that this allowed protection should the site be invaded (by Vikings, for example): the occupants could climb into the tower and then pull up the ladder behind them…

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