In 560, Colman Mac Lénéni, (530-606) founded a monastery here built on a network of caves – enabling secure escape if necessary. It is said that in the penal days priests used a secret underground link from Cloyne House to the Catholic graveyard in order to say mass for the people. Cloyne or as it is called in Irish; Cluain Uamha – Meadow of the Caves. Cluain Uamha is named as one of the royal seats of the King of Cashel Cairpre Crom, King of Cashel, granted Cluain Uamha, one of his royal estates, to Coleman as a site for his monastery. He had been a poet and bard at the court of Caomh, King of Munster at Cashel. It was St. Brendan of Clonfert that induced Colman to become Christian. He embraced his new faith eagerly and studied at the monastery of St. Jarleth in Tuam.
The climbable 10th century Round Tower is certainly Cloyne's main attraction. This is one of two surviving round towers in county Cork and the tower is one of the few surviving aspects of the old monastic foundation at Cloyne. Originally the tower was 28m in height, but on the night of January 10, 1794, it was struck by lightning, and its conical top and three of its lofts with the bell was destroyed. An embattlement was subsequently built around the summit, making its present height 30m.
Unusually for a village, it not alone has a Round Tower but also a cathedral. This 13th century Cathedral and adjoining cemetery with remnants of an earlier structure believed to be the site of an ancient firehouse. Previously the cathedral of the Diocese of Cloyne, it is now one of three cathedrals in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The Cathedral has many a famous son in particular the philosopher Bishop George Berkley (1685-1753), after whom the town of Berkeley in California is named. He was the bishop of Cloyne from 1734-1753. The Berkeley Chapel in the North Transept houses a marble effigy of George Berkeley.
The Cathedral and Tower can by visited by requesting a key from the key keeper in the small cottage in the cathedral grounds.
More about Round Towers you will find HERE.
More about Monastic Sites in Ireland you will find HERE.
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