Castledermot Round Tower and High Crosses, Co. Kildare

Castledermot Round Tower and the High Crosses nearby are a National Monument of Ireland.

In addition, Round Towers are a uniquely indigenous form of Irish architecture. An interesting and very well-preserved tower is a 10th-century Round Tower located in Castledermot, County Kildare.

Moreover, this tower is complete, although the original cap has been replaced with battlements. It is composed of rounded granite boulders embedded in mortar.

Castledermot was founded as a monastic settlement c. 800 AD.

Besides, the bishop-poet Cormac mac Cuilennáin was buried here in AD 938, and the round tower was probably built around that time.

So, today St James’ Church of Ireland stands at the site of St Dermot’s church. This ancient church at Castledermot was formerly known as Díseart Diarmada, meaning Dermot’s hermitage. The monastery was raided by the Vikings in the 9th century. But continued its existence at least until the 12th century.

However, all that is left today is a splendidly reconstructed Romanesque doorway, which came from a church that has since vanished, a 10th-century Round Tower, 66ft high with granite base, and two magnificent High Crosses, probably 9th century.

Thus, there are two High Crosses:

So, the North Cross depicts David, the Binding of Isaac, and the miracles of Jesus. The South Cross depicts the Arrest of Jesus, Daniel, and Adam and Eve.

Also, in the churchyard, there are several well-preserved early Christian and medieval grave slabs. And a holed “swearing” stone, another holed stone, and the only “hog-back” (a Scandinavian-style grave marker) known in Ireland.

What`s more, in Ireland about 120 round towers are thought once to have existed. Most are in ruins, while eighteen to twenty are almost perfect. I`ve already described on my blog a stunning Timahoe Round Tower in County Laois. In County Carlow, only one round tower can be found in St. Mullins and it’s only 1 meter of preserved wall.

Location of Castledermot Round Tower and High Crosses:

Below are photos I took in July 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *