Close to Gort, this interesting early Christian site is well worth a visit for its ruined churches and well preserved round tower. The monastery was founded in the 7th Century by St. Colman MacDuagh under the patronage of Guaire, King of Connacht, although, except for the tower, most of the present buildings date from the 13th – 14th centuries. The name Kilmacduagh roughly translates as “church of Duagh’s son”.

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 lawless years of the 13th century. The interesting stonework features scattered throughout the small churches are worth searching for; these are mostly inserts from the late 11th to the 15th centuries. The Reformation effectively brought the religious life of Kilmacduagh to a close.

The tower is interesting, both as a 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 30 metres tall (111 feet, 10 inches), with the only doorway some 7 metres (26 feet) above ground level. The walls are over six feet thick at the base, underneath which lie some skeletons.

The tower once had a bell which was said to have been thrown into a nearby lake.

The reason for the doorway’s height was that of safety during attack (of which there were many); the monks could pull up the ladder, leaving no access to the attackers.

The site affords a splendid view of the local area, and is the centre of some interesting local legends and folklore. One of these legends describes how the site came to be at this particular location. Saint Colman (MacDuagh) was said to have been walking through woods close to the Burren when his girdle fell to the ground. Taking this as a sign, he chose this spot on which to build his monastery.
(taken from Ireland MidWest Online)

Kilmacduagh abbey

Nice view of the leaning tower –



~ by Simone on October 13, 2010.

One Response to “Kilmacduagh”

  1. one of our favourite places

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