Rock of Cashel; Round Tower
Photographer: Hemphill, Dr. William Despard (1816-1902)
Medium: Photographic print
“The Round Tower on the north of the cathedral is a perfect one, and displays most of the peculiarities of these most interesting remains of Irish antiquity. As the reader is aware, for a very long time there was much speculation in Ireland amongst the learned, and many theories regarding their origin. They were Danish, Phoenician, and half a dozen other things. Their tall pointed character suggested that they belonged to the worshippers of the sun and of fire…Dr. Petrie in his ‘Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland,’ published in 1845, put all these fancies to flight, and added a new interest to them by clearly demonstrating that they were the work of the ancient Christians of the country; that they had been erected at different periods betwixt the fifth and thirteenth centuries…This round tower at Cashel indicates that the rock was the site of more ancient ecclesiastical erections than the present ruined cathedral.”
Excerpt from “Rock of Cashel”, in ‘Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain and Ireland’ by William Howitt.