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French Tower Town Wall and Gate
 

County

Waterford

Coordinates

N 52° 15' 26.16"   W 007° 06' 51.48"

Nearest town

Waterford

Grid Ref.

S 60467 12098

Map No.

76

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

26

Date of visit

Thursday 7 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The French Tower seen from the south.


In early medieval times, the Vikings built a fortified settlement with a tower close to the sea. When the Anglo-Normans captured the town in 1170, this tower was rebuilt and the settlement was enclosed in stone walls.
When the Spanish spy Don Diego Ortiz visited Waterford in 1574, he said that the town was enclosed in a stone wall with a perimeter of about 1 mile, with seventeen defensive towers with cannons on them.
Today only six towers survive, along with long stretches of town wall, the largest collection of all Ireland.

The French Tower probably takes its name from the large French community that once lived in this part of the medieval town after the period of the Battle of the Boyne. It is on the same axis with the Double Tower and the Watch Tower, and it's the fourth of the six surviving towers from the medieval settlement, counting from Reginald's Tower.
Seen from above, the tower is waning crescent shaped, this was done to minimize the space used inside the the wall.
It seems that in origin it was only two storeys high, and that it was raised by two more storeys in the 15th century.
The longest stretch of medieval wall in Waterford departs to north-northeast (15°) from this tower, to join the segment of walls at the Semilunar Tower.


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