The Disqualified Round Towers of Ireland

Glendalough, Trinity (Co. Wicklow) – visited 7 August 1999

This church, to the east of the monastic city, had a round tower standing on an annexe at its west end, a later addition to the original building. It was covered in ivy and fell in a storm in 1818 but is known from eighteenth-century drawings. The annexe was rebuilt in the 1870s and the beginning of the corbelling for the base of the tower can still be seen. The tower appears to have been square in the lower part, then round, but the ivy cover makes it impossible to make out details from the drawings. It may have been added to the church in the twelfth century but was certainly not an orthodox round tower. The idea that there was yet another round tower at Glendalough built over the gatehouse of the monastic city, is apocryphal, deriving, it seems, from an eighteenth-century print which probably confused it with this. (B.)