The Disqualified Round Towers of Ireland

Seirkieran (Co. Offaly)

visited 8 August 1999

This tower is just outside the north-west corner of the graveyard in the old monastic site at Clareen cross-roads, six miles east of Birr. The monastery was founded by St Kieran of Seir, often referred to as St Kieran of Ossory, a contemporary or perhaps a predecessor of St Patrick, sometimes called 'Old Kieran' to distinguish him from his namesake at Clonmacnoise. The tower achieved considerable prominence, and later passed into the hands of the Canons Regular of St Augustine. This small turret, 12 ft high, in the centre of the graveyard is often mixed up with the ruined base of a native round tower, overgrown by a thorn tree and much ivy to be found just outside the walls of the graveyard. An inquisition of '27th December Xl Eliz' (1569) mentions a 'turns parva' which has sometimes been taken to mean a round tower but is obviously a reference to this small turret in the graveyard. Graves and Prim noted the mistake but confusion still persists. (B.)