The Pigeon Tower

Nurney Tower (1)

Nurney Tower (2)

The first site we visited on our recent Kildare trip was the old Tower ruin in Nurney. I had previously had a rather unsuccessful visit here in January 2012. At the time there was no access into the field, so I had to make do with some shots over the fence. You can see these Here. Finding anything about its history was impossible. I originally believed that this may have been part of a Castle or fortification of some type, but have found little information to support this. Situated in the small village of Nurney or An Urnaídhe in Gaelic which translates too prayer house or chapel. The Tower can be seen in a field adjacent the old Medieval church and Nunnery. The field can be accessed via a stile from the local shop car park.

Nurney Tower (3)

Nurney Tower (5)

Nurney Tower (4)

The ruins sit on top a decent sized earth mound/Hill situated right beside a river, which I still believe may have been the site of an earlier fort. There was mention of a castle to the east of the village but over time this was incorporated into the residence that became known as Nurney House. No visible remains of this castle remain. The Hill known locally as Pigeon Hill is first mentioned on an OS map from 1836. Interestingly the remains of this Tower have been built during two separate time periods, the lower portion being much older that the upper section, in which red bricks were used. It would seem that the tower may have been part of a fortification in the area and was later modified to house a pigeon coup in the 19th century, presumably this is how it got the name Pigeon Tower?

Nurney Tower (6)

Nurney Tower (8)

Nurney Tower (7)

The site would have been perfect for a Motte & Bailey dwelling, walking around with Ryan I explained to him how the hill would have been surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade. The height of this fort would have given the inhabitants a great view of the surrounding area and given them advance warning of any potential attacks. Unfortunately the origin and history of this site may well be lost in time. If anyone can share any further details regarding the Tower, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below or alternatively you can mail me directly Here.

Nurney Tower (9)

Nurney Tower (12)

Nurney Tower (11)

Nurney Tower (10)


To see more of these images, why not visit my Website or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

About edmooneyphotography

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

38 Responses to The Pigeon Tower

  1. rjmackin says:

    These look great. I see Ryan’s a Liverpool supporter… poor chap!!!


  2. love the composition, great shot.


  3. lizbert1 says:

    Great photos and an intriguing mystery too! Fascinating! Cheers as always!


  4. lizcarey2014 says:

    Beautiful! When I was in England, Scotland and Wales after graduating from high school (about a million years ago), I loved seeing the castles and the hand-built fences and the churches that were built in the 1500 and 1600s. Just imaging the history and what happened in them kept me awake on the long train rides and car rides cross country.


  5. Ali Isaac says:

    Fabulous pics Ed! Shame you couldnt find out more about it…its certainly an intriguing little building!


    • Aha, I just got a message back from a local group in Nurney. I was right, it was a sight of an earlier Fortification. Belonged to the Earls of Kildare. In the late 18th century the ruins were converted into a pigeon coup.
      Thankfully my eye for spotting these things has improved over the last two years 🙂


      • Ali Isaac says:

        Wow well done! Thats a fantastic nugget of info to have unearthed! How easily such info is lost to us. I hope you add it into your post to preserve it for the rest of us. Its great that you spotted it!


        • An update will be forthcoming as soon as I work my way through all the Glendalough stuff. I had messaged a few different local groups, with only one reply so far. Hopefully I might get some more info before I update the post 🙂


  6. gpcox says:

    An outstanding double post! Your photos are remarkable.


  7. chattykerry says:

    Fabulous moody black and white shots. Reminds me of bleak days in Ireland.


  8. Thank you for liking “Odd Blooms.” Great shots of the Pigeon Tower and Ryan! 🙂 It is sad that the history of some of these ruins are lost in the past, but it is not unexpected that this could happen.


  9. mengeleblog says:

    wonderful pictures !


  10. Beautiful shots and thanks for the history you do know!! I love the one with the boy in colour. Interesting effect!! ( your son?) I am sure that tower has stories to tell!!


  11. Angela Misri says:

    Haunting and edifying. What a lovely bunch of photos (and a cutie little man to boot!)


  12. archecotech says:

    As always great photos, the one with your son in it………great shot.

    By the way, are you ready to do a post? Let me know.


  13. Dalo 2013 says:

    Another super series, you have a great style ~ in composition and in also processing, creating of mood and contrast. Fantastic.


  14. isissousa2d says:

    Amazing work. It has a very defined dark, mysterious mood. Love the contrasts and compositions!


  15. LB says:

    That second photo in particular is great – the tower up on the hill in the distance.
    Love seeing Ryan peeking through, too 🙂


  16. Pingback: My Photoblog Adventure 2014, A year in review Part 1 | EdMooneyPhotography

  17. Charissa L says:

    Hi Ed,

    Just wondering If you found any more information on the history of this site.

    Many thanks



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s