Martello Tower #2

Martello Tower #2

Plan of Martello Tower construction

The museum is housed in the Martello Tower in Howth, which has it’s own particular significance within the history of communication within Ireland and relating to the collection contained within. The Martello tower in Howth is one of a network of similar towers built around the coastline of Ireland. It was completed about 1805. The towers were modelled on the small fortified tower at Mortello Point in Corsica. Inspired by the simplicity and effectiveness of the Mortello Point design, the British, who then occupied Ireland, built their Martello network to defend Ireland, and ultimately Britain, from an expected Napoleonic invasion. The Martellos were built in close proximity and within visible signalling range. News of the sighting of an invasion force could be quickly relayed along the network.

From the plateau, on which the Howth tower is situated, you can see another Martello on the island of Ireland’s Eye (from Viking word Ey, for island) a short distance to the north. Each tower was typically garrisoned by an officer and twenty-four men. A rotating platform on the roof supported a cannon. The roof, with its commanding view, is accessed by a spiral stone staircase.

The original drawings for the Martello Towers in Ireland can be accessed online via the Irish Military Archives.

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