Castledermot : Round Tower

CountyKildare
Grid RefS 784 850
GPSS 78428 85007 (7m)
Longitude6° 50' 2.78" W
Latitude52° 54' 36.83" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCastledermot (0.2 Km)
OS Sheet61
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 4th November 2001

This is a place of some pedigree and considerable irony. The hermit Dermot built his cell here to escape the world, but was soon sought out for his wisdom. There was then an abbey built just yards away and eventually a monastery too.

The round tower & Romanesque arch way are all that remains of the monastery. The abbey ruins are quite spectacular.

The church yards has two high crosses that are intricately carved as always. There are some very old graves here, some of them crossovers from pagan to Christian burials resembling cyst graves.

Round Towers are found all over Ireland. They are very tall towers associated with early monastic settlements. Their purpose is one of much debate: were they bell towers, look-out towers or were they defensive structures, built to protect the sites relics and books during Viking raids? Maybe they were all three! The high-set doors certainly give the impression that some element of defense was considered in their construction.

Internally they had four or five floors, each accessed via a ladder from the floor below. Not every floor had a window, but the top floor usually had four windows which aligned to the cardinal points of the compass. The one at Kells (County Meath) unusually has five windows on the top floor which point at the five gates to the town.

Not many of the eighty plus examples left are full height these days. Many crumbled and were taken down for safety purposes. Some, however, are still very impressive inded with Kilmacduagh (County Galway) reaching an incredible 35m tall.

Originally all of them would have had a conical roof and those that still possess this feature give the impression of being ready to blast off into space.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 14th April 2002

On my first visit here I was mainly concerned with crossing another round tower off my list and took very little notice of the other wonders in the churchyard.

There are some lovely grave slabs here as well as the two crosses.

Round Towers are found all over Ireland. They are very tall towers associated with early monastic settlements. Their purpose is one of much debate: were they bell towers, look-out towers or were they defensive structures, built to protect the sites relics and books during Viking raids? Maybe they were all three! The high-set doors certainly give the impression that some element of defense was considered in their construction.

Internally they had four or five floors, each accessed via a ladder from the floor below. Not every floor had a window, but the top floor usually had four windows which aligned to the cardinal points of the compass. The one at Kells (County Meath) unusually has five windows on the top floor which point at the five gates to the town.

Not many of the eighty plus examples left are full height these days. Many crumbled and were taken down for safety purposes. Some, however, are still very impressive inded with Kilmacduagh (County Galway) reaching an incredible 35m tall.

Originally all of them would have had a conical roof and those that still possess this feature give the impression of being ready to blast off into space.

Sunday, 27th November 2005

Lately I have driven through Castledermot so regularly that I thought I'd better stop at the church and take a nother look at the fabulous crosses here. Caught in the right light, their intricacy always surprises me.

The GPS reading given here is for the round tower. The reading for the north cross is S 78426 85011 and for the south cross it is S 78429 85000.

Saturday, 5th August 2006

After a long, hot day out we needed some food on the way home. Castledermot is the ideal spot on this trip. So, after some chips and a lot of water we took a walk around the churchyard. I love these two crosses. The little Loki-esque figure on the one really makes me smile.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Directions

Castledermot is north of Carlow on the N9.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Round Towers

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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