Ireland is absolutely chock-o-block full with churches, church ruins, graveyards, monastery ruins and the like and this is no exception. If you get off the beaten track in the Burren (Co. Clare), a fantastic 'rocky place', you might pass this site. It's Kilmacduagh and it used to be a monastery. However, when the English decided they would become Anglicans, Catholicism was banned and anything related to that faith was largely demolished. This is one of the sites that didn't make it.
This photo was taken late in the afternoon in October of 2005. My sister and I had been visiting the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and were on our way back to our Bed & Breakfast in Spiddal (Co. Galway). Because I had done that trip through the Burren several times before, I knew where to go and we stopped at this place. The sun was setting, it was quiet and the only ones watching us were several cows and their calves. The setting was just so peaceful!
The large tower you can see on the left side of the church is called a round tower. Several explanations have been given to their use and their function, but the most general ones are: it was used as a look-out, a focal point for visiting pilgrims, a bell-tower and storage. The idea that monks would shelter in them in case of attack (Irish, Vikings, English) has been left to rot lately, because that would mean sure suicide. Set fire to the place and they were trapped, since the doorway was three meters above ground and the ladder (more used than stairs) was usually taken up in the tower to avoid strangers entering. Most of the round towers that have survived through the years have survived because of their shape: the wind can't really get a grip on them.
How can you not love Ireland?
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