Kinneigh Round Tower
At a Glance
County Cork
OS Map 86
OS Coordinate W 327 573
Condition Complete, roofed but capless
Height 24.5m
Doorway Type Lintelled
Window Type 4 small lintelled
Number of Windows 4
Ground to Doorway 5m
Distinguishing Features Hexagonal base
Traditional Association St. Mocholmog
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Kinneigh Round Tower Co. Cork

Information Base of tower

Kinneigh Round Tower
County Cork
O.S. Map 86
Cionn Eich: The head/headland of the horse

Location: The unique Kinneigh Tower is located approx. 5 km northwest of the villages of Enniskean and Ballineen in West Cork on a side road just to the south of R 588. It stands on a rock outcropping overlooking St. Bartholomew's C. of I. parish church and cemetery.

Dimensions: The entire tower is composed of local slate. There are two offsets above the rock outcropping on which the tower is built. The top offset is approx. 5 cm wide and 10 cm high. The lower offset is approx. 15 cm wide and averages approx. 40 cm high. The door is about 4 meters above the ground facing northeast and is near the top and center of one of the hexagons at the first floor level. The lintel of this doorway is massive. Just above the doorway, the tower transitions from the hexagonal base to the round drum by means of clever and skilled mason work. The tower is roofed and the bell has been removed to the old fort at Kinsale for safekeeping, according to the current Rector, The Reverend Judith Frances Hubbard. The Kinneigh Union of Parishes has a fine website with a newspaper article about the tower. The final five feet of the drum is evidently a later addition as the work is irregular and projects a bit at some points. From the base of the lower offset to the top of the drum is approx. 21.5 meters. There are four very small square windows in the drum facing, in ascending order, ESE, W, NNE and S. There are no traditional bell-storey windows, and whether any existed in the past is impossible to know.

Features: It is the only round tower that is constructed hexagonally for the lower six meters, then making a transition to the typical round form for the remainder of its height. It may be assumed that this tower once sported the traditional conical cap, but none presently exists. Photographs from the early 19th century show no cap, so this typical feature - if it ever existed - has been missing for a considerable time.

Comments: There is no longer access to the interior of the tower for safety reasons. The bell described as being embossed with "J Murphy Founder Dublin 1856" and decorated with a harp with a crown above it and a shamrock below was removed when the tower was roofed, as it was too large for the structure.

History: From an article in 2000 by Sam Kingston in the Southern Star: "The monastery at Kinneigh was founded by St. Mocholmóg in the year 619, according to the 'Annals of Cork'. It was situated about half a mile west of the present site of the Round Tower. Very little of its history is known and only a fragment of the walls of the old building remains. But the wall or fence that surrounded the monastery grounds, enclosing about 16 acres, still exists and the Castle Rock was within the monastery grounds. Within the grounds was an old cemetery and another part of the grounds was known as the "Abhalgort" or Orchard." A lightning strike in 1837 caused a fissure on the south side and was most likely repaired as the bell was installed around 1857 when the present church was built. The tower attained National Monument status within the last decade and in 2000 the OPW did some extensive preservation work. The outside access ladder was removed for safety though the stabilized interior ladders between floors apparently still exist.

Other Items of Interest: St. Batholomew's is a beautiful church typical of it's time period of the mid 19th century. It was undergoing some renovation work at the time of our 2004 visit.

  © 2004-2006 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.