Meelick Round Tower, Swinford in Co. Mayo

Meelick Round Tower is a fine well preserved tower situated on a hill 3 miles South-West of Swinford Town in County Mayo. The tower was built between 923 and 1013 A.D. on the site of an ecclesiastical foundation attributed to Saint Broccaidh. Meelick was once the principal abbey in the Barony of Gallen.

It is one of five round towers in the county and is 22metres high. The circumference of the tower at the base is over 17metres. The tower cap is missing but its doorway is visible about 3.5 metres from the ground. There is a stone floor over a vault above the doorway. The stonework from which it is made consists of sandstone that gleams with quartz and has patches of lichen in places making it an attractive monument.

The tower served as a refuge for monks from Saint Broccaidh's monastery. There is an early gravestone, with crudely interlaced cross and border bearing an Irish inscription dating from the 10th or 11th century, situated at the foot of the tower. The tombstone bears the inscription: "AR PAIDIR DO GRIENI" ("A prayer for Griene.").

By Brian Hoban