Kilree Monastic site

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Name Kilree Monastic site County Kilkenny Nearest Town Kells Access Road N10 About South of Kilkenny City and close to the town of Kells, stands Kilree High Cross and Round Tower which is believed to age from the 9th century.

A badly weathered sandstone cross standing at 2.75 metres high, most of which is covered with bosses and geometrical motifs.


The East face bears a hunting scene on the arms.

The ends of the South arm have some figure sculpture but these are difficult to interpret.

On the West face is probably an Adoration of the Magi and maybe Daniel in the Lions den.

There is a tenon joint still visible so more than likely the cross was fitted with a capstone.

This old monastic site is in the middle of a cow field with the cross standing at the far end of the Field.


The most dominant feature of this site is the round tower.
This is a capless, battlemented tower that is 20 metres high. The doorway is relatively low to the present cemetery ground level.


The squared plinth-like foundation is unusual: the only other tower with a similar base being at nearby Aghaviller.

The tower doorway faces the ruin of an early church with pronounced antae, though nothing appears to be known of the monastery here.

The church and lands were transferred to the Priory of Kells in the 13th century.

Until then, they had been the property of the dean and chapter of the Ossory.

The cemetery itself is heavily wooded, giving it a hushed, surrealistic and almost haunted feel to it.

The site is close Kells Priory which is one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland.

From Kilkenny take the N10 South to Stoneyford, here take right turn for Kells, at Kells keep left, after two kilometres you should see the round tower in a field to your right, the cross stands 150 metres behind the Tower.

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