Glendalough Round Tower & St. Kevin’s Kitchen, Glendalough. County Wicklow

Glendalough Round Tower and St Kevin’s Kitchen are located in the beautiful glaciated valley of Glendalough in county Wicklow. These are some of Ireland’s most iconic buildings. Round towers were built between the 9th and 12th centuries and only 3 exist beyond our borders (one on the Isle of Man and two in Scotland). This one stands 100 feet high. The Irish word ‘cloicthech’ translates to mean ‘bell house’ so this indicates that their function was like an Italian campanile or an Islamic minaret for calling the faithful to prayer. The common belief is that they were designed as places of refuge from Viking raiders (which is probably partly true) however their foundations were usually no more than 4 or 5 feet deep so the doorways had to be placed 10-15 feet above ground level to stop the towers from collapsing. In the late 1800’s the cone shaped part of this round tower was struck by lightning and split down the centre. When the repairs were being carried out by local man: Sam Kennedy, it was said that ‘he danced a hornpipe around the rim of the tower’ (there’s always one in the village!)