Old Kilcullen High Crosses and Round Tower, Co. Kildare

Coming back from Kildare Village to Carlow we stopped to see Old Kilcullen High Crosses and Round Tower.

Old Kilcullen is a significant historical site in County Kildare, outside the town of Kilcullen. Just under 5 km from Newbridge and approximately 13 km from Naas.

Old Kilcullen is the site of a round tower and a decorated High Cross. Another, much older, historic site, Dun Ailinne, is located approximately one kilometer away to the north at Knockaulin.

Kilcullen began as a monastic settlement, in the period around 448. And is believed to have been assigned clergy by St. Patrick.

The monastery was founded by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

And the remnants of the High Crosses and Round Tower are indicative of its importance. The Vikings attacked twice in 932 and 1114. This threat led to the building of the round tower in the 9th/10th century.

The Round Tower is now just over 10m high at the lowest point of its uneven top remaining course, stabilized after damage during the Battle of Kilcullen. Beside the door is a plaque declaring the tower’s protected status.

Old Kilcullen High Crosses and Round Tower are a National Monument of Ireland.

There are two distinct Irish High Crosses, and what may be the base of a third, at different locations within the churchyard. The “decorated high cross” has four illustrated faces, with a range of panels. The “plain high cross” may have had the beginnings of decoration, but has no finished ornamentation.

Old Kilcullen is a secluded place, worth stopping for a few minutes. The views from here across County Kildare are beautiful, toward Dún Ailinne. According to Irish mythology, Dún Ailinne was one of the great royal sites of early Gaelic Ireland. And was believed in the Early Medieval period to have been where the Kings of Leinster were inaugurated.

Location of Old Kilcullen High Crosses and Round Tower:

Below are photos I took in September 2021.


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

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