St Cumin’s church on Loch Morar, commissioned by Lord Lovat in the 1880s, has an unusual round tower, more commonly seen in Ireland, where there are 65 of them. One of the tallest and best preserved is St Kevin’s at Glendalough in County Wicklow, standing over 30m tall.
The towers were thought to have been built between the seventh and tenth centuries and their purpose is unknown. One theory is that they serve as a connected sacred landscape, as the geographical pattern of their locations reflects the constellations visible in the northern sky at the winter solstice. They share a common design and construction and may have been used as electromagnetic ‘antennae’. Dora would have seen St Kevin’s tower many times in her youth as a regular visitor to Glendalough, home of the Barton family. Perhaps when she saw the round tower at Morar it resonated with her.
The stained glass on either side of the altar in the church at Morar was designed by John Duncan, a well known Celtic revivalist artist. One window depicts St Margaret of Scotland and the other depicts St Columba.