Kilmacduagh Monastic Site and Round Tower, Co. Galway
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Kilmacduagh Monastery lies about 5km south-west of Gort in the landscape of Burren. It was here that Colman son of Duagh, founded his episcopal see around 610. Kilmacduagh means - Church of the son of Duagh (Cill meic Duach). The original church was built for him by his cousin King Guaire Aidne Mac Colman of Connacht (died 663 in Ireland).

The monastery contains a round tower the highest surviving in Ireland, notable as both fine example of this particularly Irish feature but also because of its noticeable lean, over half a metre from the vertical. The tower is over 34 metres tall, with the only doorway some 7 metres above ground level. The cap collapsed in 1859 and was rebuilt as part of general restoration in 1878.

The present cruciform cathedral is the result of a 14-15th century rebuilding of a much earlier cathedral. The south wall has a Romanesque lancet, a Gothic arch leading to the south transept, a small lancet window and a low Gothic entrance door. The 16th century wall tomb is of Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy of Gort.

To the north of the Cathedral is a small nave-and-chancel church called St John's the Baptist Church. It has rounded and pointed windows and a much later chancel, but little of it left. Several hundred metres to the northwest of the church is another nave-and-chancel church. This is O'Heynes Church. It was biult in the 13th century by Owen O'Heyne, the local chieftain, as part of a monastery for Augustinian canons. The church has two fine round-headed widely splayed lancets in the east wall flanked by thin pilasters. The corners of the east gable also have pilasters.

This site was of such importance that it became the centre of a new diocese, the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the 12th century; it is now incorporated into the Diocese of Galway. The monastery, because of its wealth and importance, was plundered several times in the 13th century. The destruction of Kilmacduagh can probably be dated to the troubles of the mid-16th century.

According to legend, Saint Colman MacDuagh was walking through the woods of the Burren when his girdle fell to the ground. Taking this as a sign, he built his monastery on that spot. The girdle was said to be studded with gems and was held by the O'Shaughnessys centuries later, along with St. Colman's crozier, or staff. The girdle was later lost, but the crozier came to be held by the O'Heynes and may now be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.

It is said that, in the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, no man will ever die from lightning. This legend was put to the test when one unlucky soul was struck, but the force of the bolt made him fly through the air into neighbouring County Clare, where he died.

The site affords a splendid view of the local area, and is the centre of some interesting local legends and folklore

More about Round Towers you will find HERE.
More about Monastic Sites in Ireland you will find HERE.


About 4km southwest of Gort, on a side road to the north of R460 and signposted.



Attractions nearby

Aillwee Cave within 17.6 km
Ardamullivan Castle within 6.3 km
Athenry Castle within 29.6 km
Athenry Dominican Friary / Priory of St. Peter and St. Paul within 29.3 km
Ballyhannon / Ballyhannan Castle within 26.4 km
Ballynagowan / Smithstown Castle within 26.3 km
Ballyportry Castle within 14.4 km
Black Head Lighthouse within 27.7 km
Caherconnell Stone Fort within 16.8 km
Caislean Sean Muckinish Ruins within 17.5 km
Clare Abbey, Augustinian within 25 km
Cloghan Castle within 17.7 km
Cloondooan Castle Ruins, Boston within 3.1 km
Corcomroe Abbey Ruins, Cistercian within 14.1 km
Craggaunowen Archaeological Museum and Castle within 29 km
Danganbrack Castle Ruins within 25.2 km
Dromoland Castle Hotel within 29.5 km
Drumharsna Castle Ruins within 11.1 km
Dunguaire Castle within 10.8 km
Dysert O'Dea Castle, Abbey, Round Tower, High Cross and Archeology Center within 19.2 km
Ennis Franciscan Friary within 23.3 km
Fiddaun Castle Ruins within 4.2 km
Galway Cathedral, Roman Catholic within 27.7 km
Gleninagh Castle Ruins within 23.4 km
Inchicronan Augustinian Friary / Abbey, Inchicronan Lough within 14.5 km
Isserkelly Castle Ruins within 16.8 km
Kilcolgan Castle within 17.9 km
Kilfenora Cathedral of St. Fachtna and High Crosses within 22.9 km
Kilkishen Castle Ruins within 28.9 km
Killone Augustinian Abbey / Nunnery within 28.4 km
Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden within 28.5 km
Lavallyconnor Castle Ruins within 17.9 km
Leamanagh / Leamaneh / Lemaneagh Castle Ruins within 18.1 km
Lough Cutra / Loughcooter Castle within 6.4 km
Loughrea Carmelite Abbey of St. Mary within 27.1 km
Lydacan / Lydican Castle Ruins within 8.6 km
Moyode Castle within 26.3 km
Newtown Castle within 19.7 km
Oranmore Castle within 24.7 km
Poulnabrone Portal Tomb within 16.8 km
Quin Franciscan Abbey within 25.5 km
St. Mary's Abbey, Augustinian, Kilshanny within 27.9 km
St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral, Roman Catholic, Ennis within 23.7 km
Thoor Ballylee Castle within 9.8 km
Tullira / Tulira Castle within 11.9 km
Tyrone House Ruins within 17.8 km
Walking Tours of Galway, Galway Walks, within 27.4 km

One of my favourite ruins...
A splendid view of the local area
The interior after the restoration
The tower once had a bell
Not much left inside...
One of the carved stones
Ruined church
One of the abbey windows
Graveyard nearby
Beautiful day...
The tower has a noticeable lean (1m)
One of the ruined churches
The round tower
Beautiful day...
The highest surviving in Ireland round tower
The Kilmacduagh Round Tower silhouette
Evening at Kilmacduagh
Sunset over Kilmacduagh Monastic Site
Kilmacduagh panorama
It's the highest surviving round tower in Ireland
Quite extensive early Christian site
Enjoying the evening at Kilmacduagh