The survival of so many Irish round towers is a tribute to the monks who built them, writes Paul Ross. Along with the harp and the shamrock, the round tower has almost become a symbol of Ireland. From Armoy in north Antrim to Aghadoe outside Killarney, there are sixty-five of these slender and tapering round towers in various degrees of survival. They range from thirteen towers which are complete, and almost as new looking as they were 1,000 years ago, to eight others that are merely stumps not more than three metres (9 ft.) high. There are also about twenty-five sites where towers are known to have stood once. All were built near monasteries of the early Irish Church.

The tower at Glendalough, Co Wicklow: round towers’ windows opened to the cardinal points, allowing the bell tones to ring out the canonical hours of the monastic day

From The Irish Times Book of the Year to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, you'll find books for all tastes and ages.

Ireland's round towers have provided food for thought both for academics and amateur antiquarians over the last centuries and the jury is still occasionally out on the finer points – but the most exotic theories as to their origin and purpose have been dispelled. So let us take a (light-hearted) look at what explanations people came up with, often ignoring Irish history  while dreaming up their "explanations" ...

To be honest, the Buddhist theory was not the first time a “foreign” background to the Irish round tower was suggested – in 1724 Thomas Molyneux published "A discourse concerning the Danish mounts, forts and towers".

Early Irish Christianity certainly took on influences from the East and was different way to mainstream Roman Catholicism.

RoundTower Technologies is a systems integrator that provides innovative solutions and services in the areas of data center infrastructure , converged platforms , cloud automation and orchestration , DevOps , and data analytics . RoundTower is helping enable its customers to drive positive business outcomes by becoming more agile and efficient through the use of technology.

From the 6th century onwards, as the Irish people embraced Christianity, great monastic centres were established all over the country. The medieval Round Towers of Ireland were built approximately between the 9th and 12th centuries and through time have become a source of historical puzzlement. Probably originally intended as bell-towers, they also served as places of refuge for the religious community and their precious relics during times of invasion and persecution.

They are, however, an enduring image of the Christian faith in Ireland. These magnificent stone structures proudly stand up to 130ft high and their construction is a testament to the ingenuity of the early Christians in Ireland. It is thought that there were once about one hundred and twenty of these imposing structures but unfortunately most now lie in ruins, with less than twenty surviving in almost perfect condition.

The survival of so many Irish round towers is a tribute to the monks who built them, writes Paul Ross. Along with the harp and the shamrock, the round tower has almost become a symbol of Ireland. From Armoy in north Antrim to Aghadoe outside Killarney, there are sixty-five of these slender and tapering round towers in various degrees of survival. They range from thirteen towers which are complete, and almost as new looking as they were 1,000 years ago, to eight others that are merely stumps not more than three metres (9 ft.) high. There are also about twenty-five sites where towers are known to have stood once. All were built near monasteries of the early Irish Church.

The tower at Glendalough, Co Wicklow: round towers’ windows opened to the cardinal points, allowing the bell tones to ring out the canonical hours of the monastic day

From The Irish Times Book of the Year to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, you'll find books for all tastes and ages.

Ireland's round towers have provided food for thought both for academics and amateur antiquarians over the last centuries and the jury is still occasionally out on the finer points – but the most exotic theories as to their origin and purpose have been dispelled. So let us take a (light-hearted) look at what explanations people came up with, often ignoring Irish history  while dreaming up their "explanations" ...

To be honest, the Buddhist theory was not the first time a “foreign” background to the Irish round tower was suggested – in 1724 Thomas Molyneux published "A discourse concerning the Danish mounts, forts and towers".

Early Irish Christianity certainly took on influences from the East and was different way to mainstream Roman Catholicism.

RoundTower Technologies is a systems integrator that provides innovative solutions and services in the areas of data center infrastructure , converged platforms , cloud automation and orchestration , DevOps , and data analytics . RoundTower is helping enable its customers to drive positive business outcomes by becoming more agile and efficient through the use of technology.

The survival of so many Irish round towers is a tribute to the monks who built them, writes Paul Ross. Along with the harp and the shamrock, the round tower has almost become a symbol of Ireland. From Armoy in north Antrim to Aghadoe outside Killarney, there are sixty-five of these slender and tapering round towers in various degrees of survival. They range from thirteen towers which are complete, and almost as new looking as they were 1,000 years ago, to eight others that are merely stumps not more than three metres (9 ft.) high. There are also about twenty-five sites where towers are known to have stood once. All were built near monasteries of the early Irish Church.

The tower at Glendalough, Co Wicklow: round towers’ windows opened to the cardinal points, allowing the bell tones to ring out the canonical hours of the monastic day

From The Irish Times Book of the Year to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, you'll find books for all tastes and ages.

The survival of so many Irish round towers is a tribute to the monks who built them, writes Paul Ross. Along with the harp and the shamrock, the round tower has almost become a symbol of Ireland. From Armoy in north Antrim to Aghadoe outside Killarney, there are sixty-five of these slender and tapering round towers in various degrees of survival. They range from thirteen towers which are complete, and almost as new looking as they were 1,000 years ago, to eight others that are merely stumps not more than three metres (9 ft.) high. There are also about twenty-five sites where towers are known to have stood once. All were built near monasteries of the early Irish Church.

The tower at Glendalough, Co Wicklow: round towers’ windows opened to the cardinal points, allowing the bell tones to ring out the canonical hours of the monastic day

From The Irish Times Book of the Year to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, you'll find books for all tastes and ages.

Ireland's round towers have provided food for thought both for academics and amateur antiquarians over the last centuries and the jury is still occasionally out on the finer points – but the most exotic theories as to their origin and purpose have been dispelled. So let us take a (light-hearted) look at what explanations people came up with, often ignoring Irish history  while dreaming up their "explanations" ...

To be honest, the Buddhist theory was not the first time a “foreign” background to the Irish round tower was suggested – in 1724 Thomas Molyneux published "A discourse concerning the Danish mounts, forts and towers".

Early Irish Christianity certainly took on influences from the East and was different way to mainstream Roman Catholicism.

The survival of so many Irish round towers is a tribute to the monks who built them, writes Paul Ross. Along with the harp and the shamrock, the round tower has almost become a symbol of Ireland. From Armoy in north Antrim to Aghadoe outside Killarney, there are sixty-five of these slender and tapering round towers in various degrees of survival. They range from thirteen towers which are complete, and almost as new looking as they were 1,000 years ago, to eight others that are merely stumps not more than three metres (9 ft.) high. There are also about twenty-five sites where towers are known to have stood once. All were built near monasteries of the early Irish Church.

The Round Tower | Visitcopenhagen


The Round Towers of Ireland - Sacred Sites

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