This ancient round tower stood in the south-west corner of the cathedral churchyard, and was much shaken by the fire from the fort during the siege of Cork in 1690. If, as stated by our traveller, the tower was more than one hundred feet high, and this was probably the case, it is, I am inclined to think, the Gill Abbey Castle which Fitzgerald says fell down in 1738. (See note 60, p. 30.) The entrance, as is usual in the Irish pillar-tower, appears to have been some feet from the ground. Smith, in his History of Cork, mentions that, in 1690, General Scravenmore, having passed the river and being quartered at Gill Abbey, not far from which stood the steeple of the cathedral church which looked into the fort, detached Lieutenant Horatio Townshend who, getting two files of men to the top of this steeple, killed the governor of the fort, and did other considerable execution. To remove this party, the Irish traversed two guns against the steeple and shook it exceedingly; whereupon the men offered to go down, but the brave Townshend, with invincible courage, commanded those below to take away the ladder, and continued in that post till the fort was surrendered the next day. In Ware's Irish Bishops, by Harris, published in 1739, it is stated, that in the churchyard (of the cathedral) stands an old steeple, a little detached from the church, which some think was the work of the Ostmen of Cork, and first used by them for a watch tower. From a Tour through Ireland, by two English Gentlemen, published in 1748, we learn, that
p.101there is an intention of building a new steeple, and raising a noble portico to the west end of the (cathedral) church. But the tower near it is a mean spiral structure, low and poorly built. This was written after its fall, which, according to a manuscript account, reduced its height to less than forty feet, but standing on elevated ground it seemeth somewhat taller.
Dr. Smith, in his History of Cork, published in 1750, merely observes, that some years ago an ancient round tower stood in the churchyard, a little detached from the church.
It is like a dream to me, having had the foundation of this round tower (all trace of which is now completely gone) pointed out to me, about the year 1808.C.