Dromiskin Round Tower




N 53° 55' 19.0"   W 006° 23' 53.0"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

O 05292 98140

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 5 May 2006

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The re-erected head of a high cross and the squat round tower in the background, seen from the east.

This was the site of an ancient monastery founded by Lughidh, a disciple of St. Patrick, in 5th or 6th century. In 801 the relics of St. Ronan were placed in a richly decorated shrine within the monastery.
The monastery was plundered by the Irish in 908, by the Danes in 978 and again by the Irish in 1043. The monks abandoned the site and took shelter in St. Mochta's Church, in co. Louth.
The round tower looks short now, but it was much taller in the past. During a restoration in 1879 the conical roof and the two rectangular windows were added.
The doorway is round-shaped, and has a Romanesque style, very popular in the 12th century. The nearby church, now in ruins, dates from the 13th century, but the east window was added two centuries later.
The head of a high cross from the 10th century was re-erected on a granite shaft in 1918, but the scenes from the Bible depicted on it cannot be identified any longer.

UPDATE: June 25th, 2016 - A new visit to the Dromiskin round tower and high cross.
It's appaling how shallow I was during my first visits to places like this. On my first visit to Dromiskin I took only three or four photos and only two of them were published on this website. This time around I thought it was a good idea to examine the site more deeply.
First thing, the round tower. In addition to what I wrote in this page some years ago, I can say that it has a diameter of 5.25 metres and it's about 12.50 metres tall. The round arch doorway has two orders, is at about 3.50 metres from the ground and faces east-southeast (100°). Only the west window is contemporary with the tower and faces west. The four rectangular windows just below the cap level were added when the tower was shortened and remodelled, and face roughly the four cardinal points.
Second thing, the head of the high cross from the 10th century. It misses the top arm and was mounted on a modern granite shaft in 1918. The east (100°) face is the more decorated. A square frame in the centre has animal figures carved on it, on the two arms there are possible scenes from the Bible. A deer hunted by a horse and a dog on the south arm, and a horse carrying a dead body and a man carrying a severed head to another man on the north arm. Right below the square central frame is a small figure of the crucified Christ. The west face of the cross head has a decorated boss in the centre. The cross leans to the southeast.
Third thing, the ruins of a 12th century church north of the high cross. Unfortunately only the east (85°) wall survives. The double window built in it is from the 15th century and was inserted in place of a larger window, as witnessed by the jamb stones of the previous one. The gap between the two sizes was filled with stones of the same kind but with a different masonry. Next to the round tower there's a neglected church, but this was built in 1821.

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