The Round Towers of Ireland, dotted variously around the country, are widely renowned as a symbol of early Celtic Christianity – but their true antiquity and alignments with the stars also represent an underlying mystery.
As well as evidence that the towers pre-date the Christian period, one of the most remarkable things about these structures is that they are aligned with the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere on the Winter solstice.
This surprising discovery is the work of Professor Phillip S Callaghan, esoteric researcher and writer. The image below outlines these alignments and is taken from his publication, ‘Ancient Mysteries, Modern Visions’.
In the map we can also see Polaris aligned perfectly with the Round Towers at the ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise, for centuries regarded as not just the physical, but the spiritual centre of the country.
The builders of the Round Towers were not only aware that the earth is round, but also knew about the Great Year or Axial Precession of 25,920 years.
As well as these remarkable astronomical correlations, Callahan’s research also outlines that the towers were constructed from paramagnetic stone and limestone – which resonates positively in a magnetic field. The towers resemble cylindrical Obelisks, especially with their original caps and their conical shape therefore allows them to act as energy conductors, like pyramidal structures.
There are now around 70 such Round Towers left standing in Ireland, with two others found in Scotland and the Isle of Man. The windows of the towers are aligned perfectly to the four cardinal points of north, south, east and west.
The ancient ‘Chronicler Annals’ of Ireland state that the great earthquake of 448 A.D. caused 75 of the Round Towers to fall which means that, at the very latest, the towers’ construction dates back to the 5th century AD. This is so early as to make the recorded academic history of the Round Towers – which claims that most date to the 11th century or later – as questionable to say the least. In fact there is no written evidence of Christian monks having ever constructed the Round Towers.
In his 1834 book, ‘The Round Towers of Ireland’, author Henry O’Brien pointed to an older history of the Round Towers, where they had been used as ancient temples of prayer and initiation, like the Mithraic caves of an even greater antiquity. Until the modern era it was apparently common knowledge in Ireland that the structures were pre-Christian and that the early monastic settlements had been formed around them.
As to who built these temples, O’Brien himself believed that they were the work of the tribe associated with the Tuatha de Danann. However, as Polaris wasn’t visible over Ireland until around 2,500 years ago – when the alignment is most accurate approximately – the towers were most likely the work of the early Irish Celts, who may well have had Scythian origins. Many tales also link this people to ancient Egypt through the marriage of Akhenaten’s daughter Meritaten (or Scota) to a Scythian Prince, Goidel Glas.
As to the Round Towers purpose, as well as being centres of initiation and worship for the Druidic priests, it is clear the towers also acted as antennae of sorts, channels of energy. Small communities formed around these centres across Ireland. It was said that farmers would often set their livestock to pasture near the towers, as the soil was healthiest there. Many Roundtowers are also situated along leylines, again underlining their energetic function.
Although many Irish monastic sites are positioned on earlier Druidic centres, this appropriation was not as cynical as would first seem.
There is manifold evidence that Christianity came to Ireland far earlier than modern academia will acknowledge and that it was a very different entity to that emanating from Rome, heavily influenced as it was by the Eastern Syriac and Egyptian Church Fathers of the early centuries AD. The Celtic Church also carried on the ancient Druidic traditions. Indeed most early Irish monks (‘the Culdee’) were sourced from Druidic families, which had hereditary roles in Irish society such as that of judges, priests, physicians and poets.
At Clonmacnoise Monastery we can even find an 8th century cross with a depiction of the Celtic God Cernunnos, again highlighting this strong Druidic influence in early Irish Christianity. It wasn’t until the Norman invasion and the synod of Ráth Breasail in 1111 that the Celtic Church was finally replaced by the Roman Church and the Druidic practices and Eastern traditions lost.
But in those Round Towers still standing and venerating the heavens, we have a powerful link to a mysterious past that lives on.
– based on the research and writings of authors Dr Phillip S Callahan and Henry O’Brien as well as my own research on Celtic history, Druidic traditions and Clonmacnoise.