The Martello Towers

Napoleonic Wars

There were 50 signal towers constructed during the Napoleonic wars, why? These particular towers also known as Martello Towers were erected as a type of coastal defence that would alert the rest of the country of French Invasion. All towers are strategically placed so that when one gives off a signal, the next one in sequence does the same until the whole coast is lit up.

There are twelve towers in North Dublin, the first of which is at Red Rock Sutton Creek. The only one of these twelve towers that is able for viewing is the Martello tower turned vintage radio museum in Howth. This particular tower is the only one in North Dublin that was restored by Fingal County Council and opened for public viewing. This tower is said to be the most popular tower because not only the Howth locals but visitors from abroad, flock to its location during the summer months as it offers a vast panoramic view of Howth Harbour, Ireland’s Eye and as far off as Portmarnock. From here you’ll be able to see the next Martello tower in the sequence which is located on Ireland’s Eye itself, which just lies north of the Harbour. Ireland’s Eye can easily be reached during the peak months by Ireland’s Eye Ferries. The particular boat ride offers a roundtrip around the Island and also gives you the option to get off and hike the hill, explore the beaches and discover the ruins on its shores. Take a look at our ‘Things to Do’ page, where we have more information about the Ferry company. 

The Martello tower located on Ireland’s eye is one of the largest of all the towers in North Dublin and it is the third and last of the towers located on the Howth Peninsula. Its size is down to the fact that it can fit two heavy calibre artillery weapons on its roof. It also has four machicolations, which are small openings at the top of the battlements that allow for anyone on its roof to drop things onto anyone attacking that particular tower. These openings are strategically placed above entry ways into the tower. Boiling water, hot oil and rocks were among the common things that were dropped through these passages and acted as a very effective defence mechanism. This ancient and weathered Martello tower is one of 2 buildings that were built on this Island, it’s companion being the ancient ruin of St. Nessan’s Church.