Round Tower at Annaghdown
by Jessica Cooke

The Irish Annals say that in 1238 a round tower was built at the monastery of Annaghdown – the last recorded construction of such a building.

However when Oscar Wilde’s father, the surgeon, antiquarian, and writer Sir William Wilde went looking for it in the 1800s, the tower, or any remains of it, had vanished.

The lost’ round tower of Annaghdown will be the subject of the first Galway Archaeological and Historical Society talk of 2014, which takes place this Monday at 8pm in the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road.

Dr Jessica Cooke. She argued that, far from being lost, the base of the Annaghdown round tower lies in the local graveyard, and is in real danger of being destroyed because of increasing pressure for new graves.

She also looked at why the tower was built and the role of the then Bishop of Annaghdown Murchad Ua Flaithbertaig in the conflict between the Irish and Anglo-Normans within the Irish church.

With other Irish bishops, Ua Flaithbertaig appointed a papal judge to investigate the unlawful intrusion of Norman bishops into Gaelic dioceses, and brought some of his conclusions before the pope at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

Ms Cooke gained a first class honours degree from Trinity College Dublin before studying for a PhD at Cambridge. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Queen’s, Belfast, and a research position at the Institute of Historical Research in London.