The Martello Tower
The early 19th century saw a considerabale amount of activity along the coast of Fingall. Strong round towers were built by the military under the 'national defence Act of 1804'. Martello Towers (55K JPEG) are a curiosity to most people and their history is not widely known. The story begins on the island of Corsica on the 9th of Setptember 1794. A British force attacked a French headland on cape Martello. The British military were so impressed by the defence that they built their own towers for the defence of England and Ireland. The forts to be positioned about a quarter of a mile apart along the coast of Dublin. Each tower had it's own water reservoir and the walls were about eight feet thick.
The interior was divided into three storeys. The ground floor was used for holding ammunition, stores and provisions. The first floor acted as living quarters for the garrisons. A 24 pounder cannon was mounted on the top floor; on a traversing carriage. This ensured that the cannon could be pointed in any direction. There was a parapet about 4 feet high from which the defenders could fire muskets; with loopholes for the discharge of carronades. The carronade was a deadly weapon at close range; When loaded with musket balls; grapeshot, lengths of chain and scrap. An iteresting feature about the Martello tower, is that the floors, instead of having metal nails, have wooden nails because in times of war, a spark could be caused by metal nails and start a fire! The Martello Tower in Portmarnock is on the coast road and many people enjoy a walk alongside it on the the footpath overlooking the Irish sea. It is beautifuly situated, and has extrodinary window views. It is currently preserved in the ownership of Beada Nagle.
Hitch back to Home Page