Kilbennan Monastic Site


Round Tower

It is believed that a monastery was founded here in the late 5th century by St Benignus -AKA St Benin, Benen and Bennan, who was St Patrick's successor at Armagh. The most striking feature of this tower is probably its shape. Roughly the upper third of the tower remains on the north side only. The tower stands to a height of 16.5 metres and has a diameter of 4.8 metres at the base. There is a plain round headed sandstone doorway on the northside ( pictured below), 4.56 metres above ground level.

The tower is built of rough coursed limestone and stands on a plinth that is visible from the field on the southside, which is lower than the graveyard on the northside. The tower may have stood three storeys high.

The Church

Five metres east of the tower is the ruin of a late medieval church built by the Franciscans around 1428. Both of the gables stand to their full height but most of the north and south walls are destroyed. The west gable has three blocked up openings and a round arch doorway. The east gable had a twin-light cusped ogee headed window.

Kilbennan Round Tower

From the northeast

Situated: From Tuam head north on the N17 for 350 metres.Turn left onto the R332 for Ballygaddy. After 3.2 kilometres turn left. The round tower is 300m down here on the right.

Discovery Map 39: M 4086 5470. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 8° 53' 31" W

Latitude: 53° 32' 20" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

Approx date: 11th Century

Dimensions: Height 16.5 m. Diameter: 4.8 m

Door: Above ground 4.56m. Type: Arched

Windows: None

Features: None

Cap: Missing

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