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Irish Round Towers

45 44 clockIng In keeping a watch on time The Irish round towers were designed, like the minarets and the campanili, to broadcast these religious hours. That is why the word clock originally meant a bell, as in clog teach. St. Benedict stipulated that the days work should first stop for a meal at the ninth hour, which was when Christ had died. However this was intolerable for any workforce, as noon, the ninth hour, was in the middle of what we now call the afternoon. Noon then discreetely slipped backwards to midday, so the workforce could have their lunch, although noon was now the sixth, not the ninth hour. Noon, in other words, was an early victim of a labour dispute. Many simple methods were tried to count the hours properly. Sundials helped, as did marked candles at night time. King Alfred burnt six every night so as to keep up with his devotions, and also had clepsydrae, which poured water from one basin into another. Indeed this search for accuracy ultimately caused the invention of clockwork, which was the death knell of the old, variable hours. In Ireland all these systems were tried, and their annals observations of astronomical events frequently note the hour, and a night watch, showing that someone in each monastery kept a careful eye on the time. Indeed, that is why today we call a timepiece a watch.
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