Drumcliffe Round Tower, Co. Sligo
Drumcliffe Round Tower - Droim Chliabh - "ridge of baskets"
O.S. Map 16
Visited May 16, 2006
Location: About 7 kilometers north of Sligo on the N 15 in Drumcliff. The tower
sits directly on the side of the road protected by a low stone wall. Directly across
the street is the modern church whose graveyard contains the high cross. Parking is
plentiful here for the Visitors Center.
Dimensions: There is are two offsets visible at the base of the tower. One is just
above ground level at the lowest point, visible around only part of the tower, and the other is a good half meter above this. The
diameter is just under 5 meters. The partial drum of this tower rises about 9 meters
from ground level. The ESE-facing doorway is 1.75 meters above ground level. It's
monolithic lintel is cracked, but still runs the entire depth of the doorway. The doorsill
is a very thin slate. One very small lintelled window survives facing SSW at about
the second floor level.
Features: There is little to distinguish this tower as unique. It's very, very plain.
Comments: This is where the famous poet W.B. Yeats is buried, in the churchyard
in a simple grave with the epitaph, "Cast a cold eye on life, on death, Horseman pass by!".
A very nice teahouse, gift shop and visitors Center is on site.
History: Tradition has it that St. Colmcille (a.k.a. St. Columba) founded the
monastery here in 575. The Annals record the familiar plunderings in the 12th, 13th and 14th
centuries. Lightning is said to have struck the tower in 1396. The greater part of
the tower was used to build a nearby bridge. Petrie, in the mid 19th century, drew the tower with a shack at its base
and a window remnant at the top of the tower to the southeast.
Other Items of Interest: A fine high cross and the shaft of another high cross
are on the edge of the cemetery on the opposite side of the N 16 which divides this
site, along with a modern standing stone.