Directory

Timahoe Round Tower & Heritage Centre

  1. Things to Do
  2. »
  3. Attractions
  4. » Timahoe Round Tower & Heritage Centre

Welcome to Timahoe

Only fifteen minute’s drive southeast of Portlaoise, you’ll uncover a story of redemption and faith at the medieval masterpiece that is Timahoe Round Tower. A Christian icon for the ages, the tower was a beacon for a once-thriving monastic community and now proudly overlooks a peaceful village green.

Founded by soldier-turned-saint Mo Chua, the tower’s bells would both summon for prayer and sound the alarm following an era of regular Viking plunder. Haunting bells toll no more, and the serenity of this picture-postcard setting is broken now only by the laughter of children across the road in the village playground.

Elegant Round Tower

A extraordinary carved doorway makes this the most elegant round tower in Ireland. Carvings of human heads, with flowing beards and moustaches, decorate the main entrance, about five metres from the ground. Smaller carvings decorate a second story window. No one knows why the monks at Timahoe carved such a beautiful doorway. They may have used it to display a sacred relic to pilgrims, or the elegant decoration could reflect the monastery buildings that have disappeared from this site.

 

A little about us:

Welcome to Timahoe

Only fifteen minute’s drive southeast of Portlaoise, you’ll uncover a story of redemption and faith at the medieval masterpiece that is Timahoe Round Tower. A Christian icon for the ages, the tower was a beacon for a once-thriving monastic community and now proudly overlooks a peaceful village green.

Founded by soldier-turned-saint Mo Chua, the tower’s bells would both summon for prayer and sound the alarm following an era of regular Viking plunder. Haunting bells toll no more, and the serenity of this picture-postcard setting is broken now only by the laughter of children across the road in the village playground.

Elegant Round Tower

A extraordinary carved doorway makes this the most elegant round tower in Ireland. Carvings of human heads, with flowing beards and moustaches, decorate the main entrance, about five metres from the ground. Smaller carvings decorate a second story window. No one knows why the monks at Timahoe carved such a beautiful doorway. They may have used it to display a sacred relic to pilgrims, or the elegant decoration could reflect the monastery buildings that have disappeared from this site.

 

The round tower was built some time in the 1100s, on the site of a religious community founded by St. Mochua around 600. The tower rises almost 30 metres high and is more than 17 metres wide at its base. Its walls are nearly 2 metres thick. Inside there are five different floors, which were reached by ladders. The tower made it easy for travellers to find the monastery. Bells would be rung to call the monks to prayer, and to signal when the monastery was under attack. When the alarm sounded, monks would grab all the treasures of the monastery and scramble into the tower. Once they had drawn up the outside ladder and bolted the door, the thick stone walls kept them safe. The tower stands in a lovely setting across a footbridge that crosses the Bauteogue river. Nearby, the former Church of Ireland is now used as a library and a ruined 17th century castle contains elements from a 15th century church. A sculpture in the tower grounds was commissioned by the local primary school. Entitled Mochua’s Desk, it depicts St. Mochua and the three pets in a famous story about the saint: a rooster who woke him, a mouse who nibbled his ear if he fell asleep while praying, and a fly that stopped at the word Mochua stopped on when reading his prayers.

Timahoe Heritage Centre

Timahoe Heritage Centre is located at the base of the finest Round Tower in Ireland. The Heritage Centre building itself is a former Church built in the 1850s, and it displays information on the wonderful Monastic History of Tigh Mochua and Co Laois and more local history. There are wall information boards and physical displays combined with an audiovisual presentation on the Monastic Heritage of Laois. The Centre is adjacent to a splendid Playground and sits just off the Village Green. Both the Centre and the Village setting gives the visitor an insight into Ireland off the beaten path. The nearby Village store is good place for a Chat and a Cuppa and if your feeling energetic why not hike one of the looped walks in the area?! . Timahoe is a beautiful traditional Irish country Village in Co Laois and a few hours spent here either on your own or with your family and a picnic is time well spent indeed. Opening hours are 11am to 4pm 7 days a week April through to September. The centre is self guided and all are welcome. There are toilet facilities available.