Once the highest round tower in Ireland

The Round Tower of Monasterboice is located in county Louth and dates from the 10th-century a.d. The tower stands 92 feet high but may have originally been 108 feet making it one of the tallest in the country. Its conical roof is now missing giving it a jagged silhouette set against the skyline. Round towers were built to be landmarks, bell towers, and places of refuge for the monks and their valuables during Viking raids. The doorway on this tower is placed 13 feet above the ground so entry was only possible by a ladder that could be drawn up in times of danger. This strategy did not always work, however. In 1097 the tower was attacked and burned along with the monastery’s library and other treasures. Other monuments on site are the 3 famous High Crosses. After the Cistercian abbey at Mellifont was established in 1142, Monasterboice was abandoned. A parish church was established on the site in the 13th century, and the remains of two small churches can still be seen.