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.
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?
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.