Round Tower

Clondalkin Round Tower



Built on the site of a monastery founded by St Mochua in the 7th century, the round tower at Clondalkin is one of four remaining towers in County Dublin, the other three are located at Swords, Lusk and Rathmichael. The tower stands at 27.5 metres high and because the stones used in construction are of a rough undressed variety of local calp limestone, it is thought to be an early round tower. The drum is also extremely narrow, the diameter being only 12.7 metres at its widest point. A most unusual feature of this tower is the very pronounced buttress at the base of the tower. This buttress is constructed of a different variety of stone to the main tower, which may suggest it was added later.


At present there is a series of steps cut into the buttress in the late 19th century, winding around the buttress leading up 3.9 metres to the base of the east facing doorway. Granite stones were used for the jambs, sill and lintel of the doorway. The fact that the lintel is flat is another feature of the earlier round towers. There is a total of six windows in the tower, of which the four highest face the cardinal points. On the opposite side of the road is the present church of St John which has two early crosses and a granite font which are also remnants of the monastery. The monastery was plundered in 832 AD and after the viking king Olaf the White built a fort here in c.852 it was plundered again in 866.


The lands and the derelict houses that surround the Round Tower are set to be lovingly restored by the Round Tower Project group and Clondalkin Tidy Towns. Work is due to commence shortly on clearing away overgrown bushes and trees from the old stone wall on Tower Road opposite St. Johns Church. The project will also see the land behind the tower cleared and replaced with a monastic garden that will eventually be open to the public. The derelict house on Tower Road and those at Mill Cottages on Old Nangor Road will be restored over time and opened to the public as a museum, coffee shop and book shop.