|The Round Tower, missing it's roof|
Monasterboice is located about 8 kilometers northwest of Droheda. The monastery was founded by St. Buite mac Bronaigh who was a bishop of Mainistir. He died in the year 521. The church ruins here date back to the 13th century, but the round tower and crosses probably date from the 10th century.
VIKING TAKEOVER - According to Boyne Valley tours.com, "The Vikings occupied the site for a period until they were routed by Domhnall, King of Tara, in 968. It seems that the Vikings departed and a monastery was built in the 1200s.
WHAT IS THE ROUND TOWER? - The Round Tower stands on the grounds of this ancient monastery. Originally, they were thought to be places of refuge from Viking attacks. However, the Irish name 'cloic theach' meaning a bell house suggests they also served as bell towers.
|The Round Tower from another angle|
ARCHITECTURAL FACTOID - The doorways were actually built that high above ground to help maintain the structural integrity of the tower.
It is suspected that wooden ladders were used to climb into the tower and pulled up to escape attacks from Vikings. Of course, Vikings just had to wait until the food was used up and then take the tower.
The tower at Monasterboice was burned in 1097, destroying the monastic library and other treasures. However, it is still in excellent condition, though without its conical cap. It is the second tallest round tower in Ireland.
|Oldest grave in the cemetery|
Kieran showed us the oldest grave in the cemetery and although I can't be certain, I think that he said it dated back to the 500s. The grave had a large slab of rock on top with carvings and words in Gaelic. It is now framed by iron rods to keep people from stepping on it.
NEXT: THE SLANE ABBEY RUINS AND CRAZY CARVINGS