The Tower on Meenavally hill.


Meenavally is a small 219m high hill, just outside the twin towns of Ballybofey and Stranorlar on the road to Convoy and Raphoe in east Donegal.  I took the short walk up to the top as I was looking for a small, nearby hill to do with my son.  It was a pleasant walk, taking no more than 30 minutes both ways, at a leisurely pace up the gentle slope through mixed woodland.  Occasionally, the trees would thin out a little on our left hand side, giving glimpes of the countryside below.  At the top, we found the small watch tower which I couldn’t find much information about, except one reference to it being a folly rather than a genuine defensive structure.  Signs from the main road referred to it as the Steeple Tower.



Starting off on the track through the woods.





















A first glimpse of the watch tower at the top.


Arriving at the tower, we found it was open.  Just inside the doorway, we could look up to a small, circular opening in the roof.  It it had been genuinely built for defence, this looked like it could be used to rain down rocks, arrows or boiling oil on attackers.  There was also a stone spiral stairway leading to the flat roof, surrounded by a small parapet.  This gave us a bit of a view over the trees on the wooded hilltop.









The view from just inside the doorway to the circular hole in the roof.



Looking upwards at the top of the spiral stairs.




At the top of the stairway.



On the roof, looking at the Bluestack Mountains across the treetops.







An interesting curiosity to find on a hilltop.  Time for the short walk down to the bottom of the hill again.




















A good wee hill if you’re looking for a shorter walk.


4 thoughts on “Meenavally

  1. Lovely pictures of an interesting walk up the hill to the tower, It is curious to see so many trees with more than one trunk. I wonder if the woodland was originally for coppicing? I also wonder what the tower was protecting. There must be a good story there somewhere.

  2. It’s an observatory. The hole is so that you can view the sky above as it passes, and from a darker perspective. It’s only about 200 years old, maybe a little more.
    It was built by the Lord that owned the land at the time. He got bored and left, apparently.

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