Fertagh Round Tower

 

 

Grangefertagh meaning “Gráinseach na Fearta” (Grange of the Grave/Mound). This monastery was probably founded in the late fifth or early sixth sentury by St Ciaran of Saighir. It was attacked by viking raiders in 861AD but they were repelled by Cerbhall of Ossory. In 1156AD the monastery was attacked again and burned. The elegant round tower – the bell tower – is all that remains of the early monastery. At eight storeys high, with each level reached by a wooden ladder, it was amongst the tallest in Ireland.

In the thirteenth century a priory of Augustinian Canons Regular – priests who lived in community – was founded here under the patronage of the Anglo-Normans. The present ruined church might have been part of the Augustinian priory. It has been heavily altered since the thirteenth century. A small chapel beside the church contains the tomb of John Mac Gillapatrick, carved around 1540AD by Rory O’Tunney. In the nineteenth century the west doorway and east window were taken down and moved to Johnstown Church of Ireland while a baptisimal font and a representation of the Crucifixion were moved to Johnstown Catholic Church.

GPS: 52.77894, -7.54537.