Sunday, 11 September 2011
Martello Tower finally engages the French!
The cannon being fired from Tower No. 7
During the Napoleonic Wars Ireland was girdled with Martello Towers, gun emplacements and batteries as England feared, with some reason that the French would invade Ireland as a backdoor to invade England and to neutralise their naval power. There was some reason to believe Les Grenouilles would have been warmly welcomed by the natives;
There was only one problem with this huge expenditure and build up of manpower. You guessed it, the French didn’t turn up, something which was to become a bit of a habit. Well now they have made amends for on the 14th August 2011 a French Frigate arrived in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, south of Dublin and the 18lb. Bloemfield Cannon on the Killiney Martello Tower was fired. However, these shots were not fired in anger as this military response to an armed French invasion was a salute to the yachts, and their military escort, departing on the third leg of the Solitaire du Figaro single handed coastal yacht race. The shore batteries fired 3 blank shots to salute the French frigate, which whistled 3 times in response and the shore guns replied with the further traditional 3 shots. Waiting 200 years to do this was no fun!
Tower No. 7 with the musket points which covered the gun battery
No. 7 Martello Tower on Killiney Hill was one element in the defences of Killiney Bay against a possible French invasion in the period 1804 to 1815. It has been restored privately and with some altruism to its original glory and function by Niall O'Donoghue. The restored Tower was inaugurated on the 12th of July 2008, with firing of the specially cast working cannon.
This was (almost) the culmination of a project aimed at restoring the Tower to its original state. Niall O'Donoghue has undertaken the restoration at great expense, both financially and in terms of effort, and the result is stunning. The smaller Killiney Martello Tower (Tower No. 7) is a free-standing, compact, squat, circular, two-storey structure built over a vaulted cellar with a parapet- protected roof which has a fixture for a large traversing cannon. The tower stands 10m high, with bomb-proof walls, over 3 metres thick in places. It is built with large granite blocks and is a magnificent feat of engineering.
Inauguration of restored Martello Tower No. 7 at Killiney, Co. Dublin, Ireland on Saturday 12th July 2008 and firing of 18 lb. Cannon.
No. 7 Tower was part of the defences of Killiney Bay against a possible French invasion in the period 1804 to 1815. The other towers and batteries have suffered a variety of fates, but this one was rescued and restored to its original state by Niall, who bought the much neglected site off the local council where it had been used as a maintenance yard for storing building materials and equipment.
Model of Tower No. 7 by Terry O'Sullivan showing the 3 gun artillery battery in front and the defensive glacis or bank
Niall was interviewed on Irish Television and pointed out the uniqueness of what he has created on Killiney Hill. For this is the only Martello Tower restored to its original state with a rotating working cannon, musket points, battery and defensive glacis in the world. It has been a great achievement and since Niall’s appearance on RTE he is pointed out as he walks through Killiney and Dalkey as “yer man on the telly.” Fame at last!
To see Tower No. 7’s details and news go to Pol’s webpage;
For the background to Martello Towers see;
There is still a huge amount of work required on the site which will take a lot of dedication and a lump of funding. To help or arrange a visit email Niall;
Niall and the Tower Click for larger view
The Tower is available for events. It is ne of the most unusual locations in Ireland, 25 mins south of Dublin, 300 yards from the sea spectacular panoramic views overlooking Killiney bay from Dalkey Island to Bray head, Sugar Loaf and Wicklow mountains. Fully restored Martello Tower with 2 large internal rooms, and fully working cannon on the roof. There is also a beautiful battery area with large lawn. Ideal for hosting special events, product launches, parties, outdoor theatre, film locations and various types of daytime workshops. It is also available on special request for events, period re-enactments’ including soldiers and cannon firing.
Tower No. 7 on Facebook