Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ireland Trip Part 9: Monasterboice's Round Tower

The Round Tower, missing it's roof
This is Part 9 of our Ireland trip blog. Continuing our trip in the Boyne Valley (north of Dublin), this blog will focus on the Round Tower in the "Monasterboice," which is  the remains of a monastery from the 10th century.
   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
    The Round tower stands 92 feet high (28 meters) and  the original conical roof is missing (likely from the harsh weather over the centuries).  The arched doorway faces east and is 1.8 meters above ground.

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.


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next