Tower No. 7
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 glory and function by Niall O'Donoghue, who has thereby done the State and the people of Ireland no small service.
The project has been long and meticulous and the cannon on the (almost) finished Tower was inaugurated with much ceremony, jollity and efficiency on the 12th of July 2008. The newly cast cannon was successfully fired and a blaze of colour was added by the Redcoat finery and arms of the firing party and their escort. Musket volleys were also fired as a teaser to the main event.
You can get some general background to the Martello towers, with particular reference to the examples in Dublin Bay, here, here and here.
Hover the cursor to identify the elements of the site.
Despite the huge amount of work and expense put into the restoration so far, there still remains a lot of work to be done if the site is to convey a full impression of how it looked in its heyday.
The gunpowder store beside the gunners cottage needs to be restored.
In the battery itself, the outer gunrails for the three gun positions, where the granite semi-circular base with the metal racer were removed, needs to be restored. Three traversing timber carriages and three non-firing replica 24 pounder cannon also need to be installed.
The adjacent structure needs to be completed and part of it fitted out as an interpretive centre with displays and videos. This will allow both a more developed presentation of the site and the arrangement of the interior of the tower to better convey its original appearance and function. At present some display material is, of necessity, stored and displayed in the tower itself.
All this will, of course, need further funding.
However, now that the project has got to a stage where it can make a serious impression on the visitor, interest is spreading.
The recent Dublin Bay Martello Tower Exhibition in the Dún Laoghaire County Hall has put this Tower in its proper context, namely, part of an integrated system of emplacements to protect Dublin Bay from a possible French invasion.
The recent visit of the County Manager to the site has both raised morale and hopefully will ensure even wider interest (and maybe even some funding or other direct assistance with the rest of the restoration).
One of the things so far missing from all of this has been an adequate appreciation of the integrated nature of the network of emplacements around Dublin Bay.
The exhibition, and its follow up, should help to fill some of this gap in understanding. Equally, better communication between all of those involved at various levels of presentation should sharpen the public appreciation of this fantastic military history and tourist resource.
The guides from the Seapoint Tower certainly found their understanding of the whole process improved with a visit and thorough briefing at an almost fully restored site.
Meanwhile, with a little help from Laurence Thermes, we'll still have to keep a keen lookout for the bloody French.