The site at Taghadoe lies about two and a half miles south of Maynooth . There is a graveyard, a ruined church and a round tower. I was amazed to discover a round tower so well preserved and so close to Maynooth.
There were three early religious houses in the Maynooth area that the town grew up around: Donaghmore (Grangewilliam), Taghadoe and Laraghbryan. I’ll focus on Taghadoe here.
One thought is that Taghadoe (also called Taptoo) is the site of the monastery of Tech-Tua, the house of Tua. The founder is traditionally said to have been St. Tua, also called Ultan Tua or Ultan the silent, who was connected with the 6th Centurty Monastery of Clane. Not much is known about the monastery except that an abbot named Folachtach dies in 765 AD, which as least gives us some timeline.
Another thought is that Tua should really be called Tuathal, a name preserved in the neighbouring townland if Toolestown, and that this site may have connections going back to St. Patrick.
The round tower was built later due to the era that is associated with them (Viking). It is about 65 feet high and the external diameter is larger than usual round towers. It lacks the usual conical roof, as well as windows at the top, so perhaps it was never finished.
The ruined church now standing was built in 1831 for the Church of Ireland by aid of a gift of 830 pounds from the late Board of First Fruits. In the Roman Catholic divisions, the parish is part of the Maynooth district.
Notice the octagonal turrets rising from the corners of the church. Pretty great looking. It would be interesting to find out if when the Office of Public Works did restoration work on this.
At the base of the back of the round tower, we find this interesting marking of a cross engraved into one of the blocks of the round tower. Perhaps this on the round tower all the time, though it seems more likely that it is a later addition. Perhaps it’s an old grave slab from the graveyard attached to this site, or else it’s from the church built years ago. Definitely worth looking into for the future.
It’s only a 5 minute drive outside Maynooth, highly recommended for a visit.
A Topographical Dictionary of County Kildare in 1837 compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan, Niamh McCabe and Michael Kavanagh
Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland by Peter Harbison
Maynooth (Ma Nuad) by Mary Cullen