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Galway, Ireland

Kilmacduagh Round Tower

The ruins of an 800-year-old monastery boasts the tallest round tower in Ireland. 

There is a hush in Kilmacduagh, where the ruins of a monastery destroyed some 800 years ago still stand.

The ruins are impressive enough, but the round tower—the tallest in Ireland at 34.5m, and in immaculate condition—is staggering.

Around 65 round towers are known in various states of decay throughout Ireland. However their origin and purpose is debated. Hypotheses include that they were used as bell towers, or as protection against raids.

Kilmacduagh’s round tower excels in terms of its condition, location and height. A rope ladder would be the only means of access to a door 8m above the ground. Whatever the purpose of the buildings was, the builders performed their task well; the tower survives nearly 1000 years after it was built, despite its obvious lean.

Situated in the village graveyard, Kilmacduagh’s ruins are a spiritual place of contemplation and silence. The karst landscape of County Clare’s Burren provides the horizon. The limestone rock for the buildings adds to the picturesque scene, and may be the reason the ruins still stand today.

Know Before You Go

There is very little historical information available. Plenty of car parking is available at the site. Drive carefully!