Evan's Tower

Evan’s Tower

Photo credit: Evan’s Tower courtesy of Mick Mongey

In 1805 Sophia Parnell, of Avondale, County Wicklow (and great aunt of Charles Stewart Parnell) married MP George Evans of Portrane House or Mount Evans as it was also known. Sophia had a strong interest in social justice and she and her husband supported Catholic emancipation, the abolition of tithes and founded the boys’ and girls’ schools in Donabate during the 1820s.

George died in 1842 and was buried, alongside his father in St Catherine’s Church. His heartbroken widow commissioned architect George Millar to design the 100-foot round tower at Portrane as a monument to her husband, which became known as the Widow’s Tower. The tower, which was built during a revival of interest in Celtic architecture, originally featured a marble bust of George Evans by the sculptor Christopher Moore. Sophia died in Paris in 1853 and she was buried with her husband George in St Catherine’s Church.

The Widow’s Tower courtesy of Mick Mongey.JPG

Photo credit: The Widow’s Tower courtesy of Mick Mongey

Did you know….

Sophia Parnell-Evans (1780-1853) ran a large and successful farming enterprise at a time when few women had done so. She met two Queens, the ex-wife of Napoleon and knew the radical feminist Margaret Mount Cashel. As the great aunt of Charles Stewart Parnell, she even made it into the pages of Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" as the practical joker "great aunt Sophy".

Find out more

Ronan, G. 2020, Sophia Parnell-Evans : feminism, farming and politics in 19th century Portrane

Donabate Heritage Map