Cloyne Round Tower Co. Cork
Cloyne Round Tower
O.S. Map 81
Location: From Cork, take N25 to Midleton, then R629 to the southeast to Cloyne.
The tower stands along the side of Church Street, opposite the Cathedral of St. Coleman. Parking along the
street is readily available.
Dimensions: There is an offset atop a rocky outcrop, now fairly overgrown.
From ground level to top is approx. 30 meters. Circumference is 16.25 meters about
five feet above the ground. Diameter is 5.17 m.
the doorway is approx. 3.4 meters above ground level. It is lintelled, with a simple
rectangular shape, although the base of the door has a noticeable flare cut into it,
purportedly to accommodate the insertion of the bell in the mid-19th century.
There are nine windows, two of which are angle-headed. The remaining windows are lintelled.
Features: Cloyne round tower is composed of a dark purplish sandstone
with battlements where the conical cap was replaced, reportedly before 1739 according
to early drawings.
Comments: The tower was looking a bit neglected in Fall of 2004, with grass
tumbling over the offset and ivy beginning to firmly attach itself along the entire south
side of the drum. Until recently, it was possible to enter and climb to the battlements of
the tower, but the metal staircase entry is rather rickety, making access dangerous.
The wooden interiors floors and ladders are weakened due to maintainence issues and insurance
no longer allows the climb. Such a shame, as there are so few towers with such access. The
tower is still a part of the C of I parish, which has a tiny congregation and the costly
repairs this year to the roof of the cathedral have depleted financial resources to make
the repairs necessary to the tower floors in order to make it safe for the public again.
The view from the top would be spectacular!
History: The monastery was founded by St. St. Colman mac Lenene who died in 604.
In 1749, a lightning storm caused notable damage, however drawings show that the conical cap
on the tower had been replaced by battlements before this time. Excavations done by the South
Munster Society of Antiquaries in 1841 uncovered the bones from several skeletons. Controvery
ensued as to whether the bones were debris used to fill the base of the tower, or were
proper Christian burials inside the base of the tower. No scientific evidence was produced
to support either theory.
Although there is evidence of human activity since about 2000 BC. Cloyne really came into its own
in 560 when St. Coleman founded his monastery here. Built on a network of caves which are all
but impassable it is rumored that in the penal days priests used a secret underground link from
Cloyne House to the Catholic graveyard in order to say mass for the people.
Other Items of Interest:
Today Cloyne is a village, yet it has a cathedral and the round tower.
The Cathedral has many a famous son - Bishop Berkley, the internationally renowned philosopher,
after whom the town of Berkeley in California is named, was the bishop of Cloyne for 30 years.
Bishop Brinkley, an important astronomer, is entombed there. Cloyne Cathedral also contains a monument
to the Fitzgeralds.
Perhaps the most popularly celebrated son of GAA MAD Cloyne is Christy Ring whose
statue is in Chapel Street.
Cloyne has its own castle on the outskirts of the village.
Castle Mary was the seat of the Longfield family since the 17th Century and they were one of
the leading Anglo Irish families in County Cork. Here the remains of a druid altar can still
be seen near the orchard. Cloyne's personal fairy goddess was called Mor.