Saints and Stones: Killala Round Tower

About 1,000 years old, the Killala Round Tower is 84 feet high, standing on a 3 foot high plinth with a doorway 11 feet above the ground. Some say that the souterrain in the grounds of the church across the road leads into it.

The original monastic foundation dates from the time of St. Patrick, who placed his disciple St. Muiredach over the church called in Irish "Cell Alaid." In a well that still flows close to the town, beside the sea, it is reputed that St. Patrick baptized 12,000 converts in a single day, and on the same occasion, in presence of the crowds, raised to life a dead woman whom he also baptized. St. Muiredach is described as an old man of Patrick's family, and was appointed to the Church of Killala as early as 442 or 443 A.D. It is probable that he resigned his see after a few years, and retired to end his life on the lonely island in Donegal Bay that has ever since borne his name, Inishmurray.

Near Killala is the area where, according to modern scholarship, St. Patrick spent his years of captivity after being captured in Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave. Saint Patrick refers to this area (Foclut) in the autobiographical portion of his Confession: "...I heard the voices of those Irish who live near the woods of Foclut near the Western Sea. They called out to me with a single voice: 'We beg you, holy boy, come here and walk among us!'" Foclut's location is not known with certainty. Patrick's 7th Century biographer, Tirechan, writing two centuries after Patrick, indicates that Foclut was in County Mayo near the border with County Sligo, near the modern village of Killala. There is no direct evidence for this location, but the circumstantial case is fairly strong. Patrick indicates that during his escape from captivity, he had to travel about 185 modern miles to find a ship to take him to Britain, i.e., a ship on the east coast of Ireland. Additionally, the Killala area's modern climate, among the coldest and wettest in Ireland, meshes well with Patrick's description of performing slave labor "through snow and frost and rain."

About the Killala Round Tower Killala Round Tower
Wikipedia: Irish Round Towers
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Killala
Wikipedia: Muiredach of Killala

Journey to the Killala Round Tower

The Killala Round Tower is located in the town of Killala in County Mayo on the R314.

Map Reference: G2030

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found at the website. General tourist information may be found at the Discover Mayo website.

Additional Photos of the Killala Round Tower

Descriptive Sign for Killala Round Tower
Killala Round Tower
Killala Round Tower
Top of the Killala Round Tower

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