Kinneigh Round Tower

  The 11th-century Kinneigh Round Tower, near Enniskean, Co. Cork will be our the site of the 1998 Ireland O'Mahony Gathering on June 21. Kinneigh lies in the district once ruled by Cian, a famous O'Mahony ancestor.

  The records which give a clue to the history of Kinneigh and its round tower are sparce and legends about the original monastic foundation and its inhabitants abound, but there is little manuscript evidence to form a concise and clear picture of its beginnings.

  The tower, built around 1015, consists of six chambers and rises to over 70 feet. It has a unique peculiarity in that it differs from all other round towers in Ireland -- it has a hexagonal base to 18 feet high.

  The name ceanneigh, according to a paper published in the Journal of the Roal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland in 1878), signifies the head or hill of the house from the resemblance of rock ridges in the area.

  Some accounts suggest it derives from Cian, King of Rath Raithleann, the cradle of the O'Mahonys, three miles away. The locality of Kinneigh Round Tower was within the domain of Cian, who married Sadbh, the eldest daughter of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland.

  The O'Mahony surname derives from Cian's son, Mahon. Another account from Jeremiah O'Mahony, however, suggests: Kinneigh was in the Cineal Laoghaire territory; and Cian was the chieftain of the Cineal Aodha. He wrote that Kinneigh derives from Archinnigh, a chieftain of the Cineal Laoghaire.

  The first O'Mahony gathering, called by Eoin O'Mahony in 1955, was held at Kinneigh Round Tower. The last Gathering at Kinneigh was in 1974 where O'Mahonys came from all over Ireland, the United States, South Africa and England.