The tower houses of County Tipperary
Citation:Conrad Cairns, 'The tower houses of County Tipperary', [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of History, 1984, pp 448, pp 95
Cairns TCD THESIS 829.1 The tower houses.pdf (PDF) 98.44Mb
Cairns TCD THESIS 829.2 The tower houses.pdf (PDF) 20.43Mb
This thesis examines the form and purpose of the minor castles in one Irish county, with some notice taken of those elsewhere in Ireland and abroad. It uses as evidence the remains of buildings, and printed and manuscript sources. Tower houses seem to have been partly derived from earlier stone castles in Ireland, and may have had some links with similar structures in Scotland; but the main reason for their popularity was that they provided some protection from the raiding and minor warfare endemic to Ireland. They were not designed for full-scale war, but were sometimes involved in it, and several Underwent sieges. They fell more frequently than not, especially when an attacker had artillery, but nevertheless could put up a stout resistance. Contemporary accounts and actual buildings reveal much of the everyday life in a tower. They could be centres of arable farming as well as cattle-raising; and some had plentiful furniture. A large quantity of surviving documentation reveals the varied methods and conditions under which tower houses were held or rented. They were the dominant form of architecture in most of Ireland; Tipperary alone had over 400 towers. A few may have been planned for strategic reasons, but most were sited to suit the local needs of the owner. They were the normal residence of both Gaelic and Anglo- Irish gentry, and seem to have replaced raths, mottes, and moated sites. The earliest ones were probably built around 1300, and they continued until the Cromwellian conquest. There is an analysis of tower architecture; on the whole builders were conservative, but some late castles show important innovations. Relatively little is known about the architects, although it seems that much construction work was supported by "coign and livery". Urban tower houses were basically similar to rural ones, and often could be used to defend the town. Ecclesiastical ones were the result of frequent attacks on clerics, and were usually built onto a church or monastery.
Description:Access restricted on volume 2 due to image copyright concerns. Please consult print copy in the Library.
Author: Cairns, Conrad
Qualification name:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Publisher:Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of History
Note:TARA (Trinity's Access to Research Archive) has a robust takedown policy. Please contact us if you have any concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of material:thesis
Availability:Full text available