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Martello Towers

For some strange reason the subject of Martello Towers came up at lunch today. While I was familiar with some around the Irish coastline I was amazed to learn that we actually have 37!  They are small defensive forts built by the British during the 19th century, from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. They stand up to12m (14ft) high (with two floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15–25 men. Their round structure and thick walls (8 ft) of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof and able to traverse a 360° arc. They became obsolete but many have survived and are preserved as historic monuments.

The James Joyce Tower, at Sandycove south of Dublin on the coast road, was a Martello tower and now holds a museum devoted to the life and works of James Joyce, who made the tower the setting for the first chapter of his masterpiece, Ulysses.

james joyce tower  tower    


There are many of these towers around the coast in our area too!