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Antrim Round Tower
 

County

Antrim

Coordinates

N 54° 43' 26.64"   W 006° 12' 32.1"

Nearest town

Antrim

Grid Ref.

J 15377 87697

Map No.

14

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

42

Date of visit

Wednesday 1 July 2015

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The round tower stands among tall trees that hide it from the view.


I don't know why we didn't come here on our last stops in Antrim, but this time we didn't waste the chance.
The tower is in Steeple Park, a public green area in the north part of Antrim, a park that once was a private demesne. The entrance to the park is on the aptly named Steeple Road. The tower is very tall, but it isn't visible from the raod and most of the town. Even after entering the park it's still hidden by the tall trees.

The round tower was the focal point of the monastery founded here at the end of the 5th century bt St. Aedh, and associated with the great monastery in Bangor.
Nothing of the monastery survives, all the remains were removed and the ground was levelled in 1819 when the demesne was laid out.
According to the annals, the monastery was first destroyed in 1018 and later burned in 1147.
The tower is 28 metres tall, with a doorway at 2.73 metres, including the offset (which is about 45 centimetres high), from the ground on the north (0°) side.
The stone above the lintel of the doorway has a wheeled cross carved in bas-relief.
I measured a height of the tower of 21.50 metres, though the informative board says it's 28 metres tall, and a diameter of about 6 metres.
The tower has its typical conical roof but it appears to be rebuilt. There are four rectangular windows right below the roof line, one at every point of the compass.
Other two windows are on the northeast side slightly above the doorway, and on southwest side, other two windows are one above the other on the south side.
About 10 metres from the tower, on its northeast side, there's a large boulder with two hollows on the top surface. It is called the Witch Stone and according to the folklore a witch jumped down from the top of the round tower to express her discontent over its construction and landed on this stone, leaving the marks of her knee and elbow.
Another lore has it that the larger of the hollows always contains water. In 1887 a gardener would drain from that hollow during a long spell of drought and that every day it would find the hollow full.

We came here for the first time on September 13th, 2003.


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