There is something rather attractive about round tower houses, but sadly only a relatively small number were built, mostly in Munster. Perhaps the finest to survive is the impressive early 16th-century tower of the Purcells at Ballynahow. It stands five storeys high with two internal vaults, each covering two storeys; the top storey was formerly covered by a conical timber roof carried on squinch arches. Both the lower floors were dimly lit round chambers that were probably used for storage, though their size was relatively small because of the wall's thickness at this level. The three storeys above were larger and approximated to a rectangular shape, with ogival and segmental headed windows. One of the thicker segments of the wall was cleverly used to contain the entrance porch with its murder hole, the winding stair, the latrines and a number of other mural chambers. A number of small musket holes can be found near some of the principal windows.
5 km (3 miles) W of Thurles, off the Ballycahill Road. NGR: S 082602.