All Along The Watchtower – Cruagh


Whilst out on one of my Ruinhunter expeditions I was nicely surprised when I came across this unique Tower. I was actually heading up towards Montpellier hill in search of something else when in the corner of my eye I caught sight of something of interest as I drove by, so I managed to turn the car around on the old narrow country lane and pulled up outside the new cemetery near Rockbrook. What I saw atop the grassy Hillock was the Cruagh Watchtower. Whilst writing this post I could not get The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower’, out of my head, hence the Post title. You will have to forgive me on this posting as I was unable to make my mind up regarding posting the color images or converting the entire set to mono. So I have used both. Recently have got a real taste for favoring the mono option as it really suits these old places. But on this occasion some shots had a nice color. So here we go, all comments & critique would be most welcome.

Entrance to the Graveyard

Entrance to the Graveyard

Entrance to the old Ruins

Entrance to the old Ruins

The Watchtower sits atop a hill in the older part of the cemetery, the site can be accessed via an old Iron Gate in the stone was which separates the old part from the modern cemetery. The towers purpose was very simple, During the 18th & 19th centurys the advances in science and the study of human anatomy brought with it an increases demand for cadavers. Due to the lack of corpses available for medical research, supply in cadavers became a lucrative trade for those willing to carry out the task. This demand led to some enterprising men becoming body snatchers or ‘resurrection men’, as they were known. These people would have no issue with raiding local graveyards in the middle of the night and removing freshly buried corpses from their final resting place in order to make a quick buck. One of the most effective ways of combating the rise of these body snatchers was the construction of a watchtower which would be manned by a sentry to discourage such late night raids.

Cruagh 3

Cruagh 4

Cruagh 5

Whilst the  watchtower in Glasnevin cemetery is one of the most well known examples of this form of defence, the country is dotted with these towers truly showing the extent of the problem. The Tower sites on the site of a pre-Norman Chapel which would have once stood here. All that remains of this church are partial fragments of the West & east gables. In fact it was believed that the stone from this chapel was used in the construction of the watchtower. During the 1700’s many parish churches would have been amalgamated so it would seem plausible that with the Chapel at Cruagh no longer being needed it would have been recycled to build the Tower which was more important in the area at the time.

Cruagh 9

Cruagh 8

Cruagh 7

Cruagh 6

The Tower still commands a somewhat commanding view of the local area, with a large window facing North toward the graveyard. It remains in fairly good condition and appears to consist of only one upper floor. I am sure that anyone brave enough to attempt stealing corpses whilst a sentry was on duty may well have been the recipient of a well placed rifle shot for their troubles. Scattered around the hill there are many ancient unreadable grave markers as well as some newer ones dating back to the 1600’s. So if you do happen to be in this neck of the woods, do try to stop by. Its not something you will come across very often and is well worth a visit.

Cruagh 10

Cruagh 19

Cruagh 17

Cruagh 16

Cruagh 15

Cruagh 14

Cruagh 13

Cruagh 12

Cruagh 11

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Historical, Photography, Places of Interest, Ruins and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to All Along The Watchtower – Cruagh

  1. ladyfi says:

    The black and white shots are very atmospheric! Nice job.


  2. Oh how I love me a castle…perfect captures!


  3. These are beautiful!


  4. Ray Luke says:

    I’d lean towards using mono for shots that make the object; watch tower, tombstone, etc, a feature. It adds atmosphere. Colour seems to work best when shots have more content and are akin to landscape. As they say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Either way; great shots.


  5. kalabalu says:

    The tower of silence, it crumbles away..saw so many dead bodies that now lie in their graves. The statues , the tomb stones, the gate to the death garden all tell tales, and the tower listens in silence and ask you to stay..will you stay in the vicinity of dead..have they moved the stones as they went for a walk and planted few trees..those shrubs and greenery..yet colors are gone too..thanks to Edmoon 🙂 he got a class of his own..making it more dead than death..tower of silence..


  6. Friends of UNESCO World Heritage St Lucia says:

    Stunning, entrancing photos and historical account. Thank you for sharing such a special place with us.


  7. marthabernie says:

    wonderful photographs!


  8. casagan says:

    The black and white ones are my preferred, and more for this subject.


  9. LJ Innes says:

    Thanks for stopping by my photo blog. Love you photos – nice watchtower shots. I see you like to name your posts with song titles too – sometimes they just fit, don’t they? Thanks again. I look forward to more posts.


  10. sarahcolliver says:

    Great pictures…the black and white ones are very atmospheric!


  11. Livonne says:

    wow.. im just gobsmacked by the beauty there.. Thank you so much for sharing those.. They are amazing


  12. Nikki says:

    Wonderful shots! What a find!! Glad you spotted the tower and decided to stop. For these shots, I prefer black and white because the shape and texture of the photos are the focus. I do like the vines growing on the tower, but I find them distracting when looking at the tower with the grass in the foreground. All around FABULOUS shots, tho!


  13. Absolutely awesome!!! I love every part of this. Not only are the photos amazing, but the history behind it makes it that much cooler! Excellent job!


  14. riekphotography says:

    These look like sets from an old horror movie. I don’t like horror movies. But I love these b/w pictures!


  15. Amazing find! I must be a big of a ghoul but I really like grave yard photos. Great shots!


  16. Beautiful images I have fallen in love with the black and white images


  17. Jo Woolf says:

    What a wonderful old tower, despite the rather gruesome history! I had no idea that body-snatching went on in Ireland too. I love your black-and-white images for the atmosphere, but I also like the colour ones because I can see the colour of the stone and any foliage that might be around. So, out of preference, I think a mix of both is the nicest! 🙂


  18. For me, the color works for the cemetery and the greyscale is working for the tower. When I have issues with color vs B&W, I tend to go with the B&W and then do a bit of a warm up with a warming filter (10-20%) in Photoshop – a decision I would make with conventional silver process by choosing a warm tone paper.
    Nice work in any case.


  19. Lenora says:

    Stunning photos! I love the BW images – they are so moody and atmospheric. That said, I also think your colour photo’s are beautiful and convey a great sense of place.


  20. I really love light spring green, it’s so vivid and brings always life into what ever is captured on photos, and that especially into the ruins on your color photos. They are a nice contrast to the black and white photos


  21. samokan says:

    Beautiful. I like black and white when it comes to structures .


  22. gulmuhor says:

    looks fabulous on b/w…great work


  23. lucylingphotography says:

    Beautiful shots love the richness of the B&W


  24. suej says:

    Some great images…the mono shots get my vote for sheer mood and atmosphere…


  25. quentin1967 says:

    Awesome: timeless!


  26. sisteranan says:

    What a beautiful creepy image… this monolithic pile set up as Protector of the Dead. I like your photography… there’s something so clear and luminous about a monochrome shot dead accurately


  27. janeanddavid says:

    You are so right – the b&w (mono) suits the subject matter perfectly. Great find. The tower & graveyard pics are awesome!


  28. Inky Vampire says:

    Have to agree that the B&W set the mood, its almost like a different place in colour – like watching a spooky movie with the lights on. 😛 Makes you wonder how many people were caught in the act back in the day or if just having the tower there was enough to deter? Great pictures.


  29. Good companion picture for Walter de la Mares “The Listeners”
    Has an empty but not quite look to it.


  30. kiwiskan says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who wanders through cemeteries…


  31. Evelyn says:

    Wow Ed ! Those shots are fantastic and I love the black and whites as well as the color shots. Your report on this tower was excellent as well. I learned something today. Montpelier you say? I’ll have to check it out ! Thanks for a great article !

    The Castle Lady ; )


    • Thanks Evelyn, glad you liked them. Montpelier, is a great spot, there is the Hell Fire Club on the summit, with Carthy castle and Masseys Estate within walking distance. Well worth Checking out.


  32. I had the good fortune to drive myself around Ireland for ten days in ’06–the only time I’ve ever been out of the U.S. I’m no photographer, but there was something that needed a camera around every turn on that island. Your photos bring back those good memories. I can smell the burning peat in the air just looking at them.


  33. J.M. Galvin says:

    Awesome. I haven’t been to Ireland in about oh 6 years, but when I went I fell in love.


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  37. wonderfully moody images of this somewhat gruesome place. I like the colour images too!

    Liked by 1 person

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