Monday 19 September 2011

Cruagh Tower & Church Co Dublin

                   Above Image: The two overgrown piles on each side of the Tower
                                         are all that is left of the Church Gables

                                           Above Image: the Entrance Gate

The Cruagh Watchtower stands silently atop a rough grassy Hillock overlooking both the old and new Cruagh cemeteries near Rockbrook. The original site contained a Church predating Norman times which may have been associated with St Dalua..All that remains of this Church today are parts of the Western and Eastern gables. It is believed that the Church may have been demolished to build the Tower in the 1700's. Up to that time it was still in use, but turbulent times in Ireland and the eventual union of parishes led to it's falling into lay hands and finally disuse.
The Watchtower which is situated between the ruined gables was constructed as an observation post so that a sentry could protect the cemetery from body snatchers who became prevalent at the time due to new medical research and the lack of cadavers for examination.
Today, the Tower stands with it's large window on the North facing side gazing like a great dark eye over the old and ragged graveyard. Apparently the Tower stretches a few feet underground but has only one upper chamber. It is still in fairly good condition structurally, but is partly overgrown with ivy. There lies in the grounds of Danesmoate House on Kellystown Road a virtual twin of this Tower, no doubt inspired by the original not too far away in Rockbrook.
Entry to the old graveyard can be found through an iron gate in the wall surrounding the older section and this is located in the left hand corner as you enter through the main gate of the new section from the road.
As a point of interest the site was used as a location in the 1969 film "The Italian Job". You can spot the tower and entrance gate in the scene featuring Michael Caine and Noel Coward at approx 38 mins  into the movie.
To find Cruagh Tower, take the R115 from The Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham. Continue on through the roundabout at Taylor's Lane and this road then joins the R116 to Rockbrook. After approx a mile you will come to a fork in the road and you will see Cruagh cemetery on your right. Parking is possible outside


  1. Is there a list of graves for the graveyard. Family folklore claims that my great grandfather Richard Connolly who died in 1910 was buried there with his wife who pre-deceased him. As I live in South Africa I would be grateful if anyone with knowledge of the graveyard or listings of burials could respond. Thanks Shiraz

    1. There is some information and ability to search for names in Cruagh cemeteries new and old here:

      Unfortunately for you I do not see any Connolly in the old graveyard in the search although it sounds like there were some headstones which were illegible. "All headstones which were legible have been photographed, " 85%