A Local Landmark

A local landmark, this is the round tower at Rattoo, County Kerry. Due to the flatness of the surrounding countryside, it is possible to see this building from many miles distant. Built of yellow sandstone and rising more than 27 metres, the tower dates from c.1100 and is located next to an ancient religious settlement; the ruined church here is 15th century. The conical top remains but a large portion of it was replaced in the early 1880s, while during more recent restoration work, a sheela-na-gig was discovered on the inner face of the north window, the only known example of such carvings on a round tower. Further restoration work was halted during the pandemic and has not since resumed, leaving part of the base stilll encased in scaffolding.

5 comments on “A Local Landmark

  1. Diane Farr says:


  2. Vincent Delany says:

    Is it possible that the Sheila-na-gig stones were originally located in the church building?

  3. teresastokes says:

    I want to see the sheela-na-gig! Has anyone ever photographed it?

  4. uzuld says:

    Robert, that’s a beautiful example.
    For anyone intrigued by round towers, the most interesting books on them are ‘ The Round Towers of Ireland’ by Henry O’Brien [1834] and ‘The Towers and Temples of Ancient Ireland’ by Marcus Keane [1867]. Hard to find, but worth the effort.

  5. Finola says:

    Timahoe round tower has a sean na gig, I believe.

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