This is one of the most impressive Round Towers I have encountered to date, similar to the one at St. Brigids Cathedral in Kildare which you can read more about HERE with the exception that this one has its original conical cap, although I was unable to access the interior. The tower at Clondalkin is surprisingly well kept given the fact that it lies on the sidewalk of a busy street in the center of Clondalkin Village.
Clondalkin is said to have been founded by Saint Cronan (Mochu) as a monastic settlement on the River Camac over 1,400 years ago. The round tower was built around a century later (circa 700 AD) as part of the monastery. Clondalkin was sacked by Vikings from Denmark in 832 AD, and the monastery was burned to the ground. One of the early Norse kings of Dublin, Amlaíb Conung, built a fortress on the site in the middle of the 9th century. In 867 a force led by Cennétig mac Gaíthéne, king of Loígis, burned the fortress at Clondalkin and killed 100 of Amlaíb’s followers. The district remained under Danish control until the Viking defeat by Brian Boru at the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Clondalkin witnessed another historic event during the Norman invasion in 1171 when there was a battle there between Richard de Clare (Strongbow) and the last High King of Ireland Ruairi O Conchúir.
I could find no record mentioning restoration of the cap, which would suggest that it may be original to the tower. Although the angle is lower than most other towers that still retain their conical cap. The most obvious feature of the tower in Clondalkin is the skirt-like bulge at it’s base. There have been built nine irregular steps to the doorway along with a metal handrail in a winding configuration. Apparently it was once possible to climb the tower. Since the steps begin about 1.5 meters above the pavement, there must have been additional steps below this. The steps culminate in a wide stone landing outside the doorway. This large slab overhangs the pavement supported by a single corbel. The view from the top of the tower would be spectacular, but it appears that the tower has not been available to climb for some time. The floors and ladders that were installed in the late 18th/early 19th century may be in a dangerous state of repair. The base of the tower is bisected by a stone wall, so that part of the west side of the bulge lies in an unkempt garden on private property.
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