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Donaghmore

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Feature Sets (3)

Description

A tall, well constructed round tower, built principally from local limestone but with some sandstone detailing around the doorway.

History

The monastery is said to be a Patrician foundation.  Some restoration work was carried out on the tower in 1841 by a local landowner.  Part of the cap of the tower was replaced by the Board of Works in 1871 when the monuments at the site came under their care.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

Doorway facing E

Round headed doorway 3.4m above present ground level. The arch is cut from three stones.  On the external face is a plain roll moulding running continuously along the arris of the jambs and arch.  Toward the top of the left jamb is a projecting disembodied head, much weathered but with high cheek bones, a down-turned mouth, and small projecting ears.  On the right side in the same position is a larger head, with a forked beard and coif (reminiscent of Inishfallen capital).  At the apex of the arch, carved over two stones, is a crucifixion.  Christ is depicted with his arms stretched out straight, his right arm only blocked out and apparently never finished, and his legs twisted sharply round to his left and bent up together one behind the other.  The head is extremely worn, but seems to be looking downwards.

Dimensions
d. at base 1.58m
d. at springing of arch 1.06m
w. at base 0.67m
w. at springing of arch 0.61m

Loose Sculpture

Head corbel

Head corbel inserted into the modern belfry of the church.

Comments/Opinions

Whilst the crucifixion plaque is open to some chronological doubt, the heads flanking either side of the tower are very Romanesque in character, although their location is almost without parallel (see however the round tower at Kells, Co. Meath which has what may be a very worn head in similar position).

Bibliography

  • 44th Report of the Commissioners of Public Works

  • Barrow, L., The Round Towers of Ireland (Dublin, 1979) 162-66

  • Champneys, A., The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland (Dulin, 1911) 48, 59, 236

  • Petrie, G., The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland (Dublin, 1845) 404-5

  • Wilde, W., Boyne and Blackwater (Dublin, 1849) 136-8

Doorway, general view.

Location

Site Location
Donaghmore
National Grid Reference
N 70 50 
Boundaries
now: Meath
pre-1994 traditional (Republic of Ireland): Meath
Diocese
medieval: Meath
now: Meath
medieval: Meath
Dedication
medieval:
now:
Type of building/monument
Round tower  
Report authors
Rachel Moss 
Visit Date
Missing