Back to Tower main page

Tower No. 7
Inauguration of Cannon 12 July 2008

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 is now almost restored to its original glory and function by Niall O'Donoghue, who is thereby doing the State and the people of Ireland no small service.

The project has been long and meticulous and the cannon on thr (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 and here.

You can see a full illustrated listing of the nine emplacements in Killiney Bay here and an interactive Google map of Towers and Batteries, the Lehaunstown Camp and Major La Chaussée's 1797 analysis here.

This would be the main entrance during an attack. The ground level door on the other side would have been rendered inaccessable and anyone trying to get in this way would get a load of hot whatever poured down on them from above.

The guard is inspected at the beginning of the ceremony.

Niall, who has duly completed his master gunner manual cannon firing course, does a last minute check on his new baby.

The cannon commands the horizon, but, true to form, the French do not appear.

Safe then for the ladies to dally while final preparations for the firing are made.

Meanwhile we can take a look around inside the tower, well protected by the Redcoats outside.

Is this where the commander figured out his strategy for dealing with the French, should they dare to show their foreign faces on his patch?

The impressive block and tackle for getting the cannon from ground level to the Crown of the Tower. In keeping with the general approach of this faithful restoration, the rope is made from hemp to match the original. Raising the cannon was a two stage operation. The shaft/murderhole, entered from the guardroom, allowed the large 2.5 ton cannon to by hoisted to the middle floor ...

... and then through a second shaft at the Machicolation to the Crown of the Tower.

Plan B: if the enemy were to succeed in getting to the cannon in the battery area, musket loops in the wall of the tower enable those inside to deny them control of those positions by firing down on them.

A combined military and civilian examination of Major La Chaussée's original analysis of the vulnerability of the Bay to a French attack.

I had been looking for this map for 30 years, and it was only the fantastic research done in Kew and elsewhere by Niall's sister Sylvia and her husband Doug that finally unearthed it. This couple have been through the British archives with a fine-tooth comb and have unearthed unbelievable stuff.

Part of Niall's credentials for running today's show!

How it might have been.

Niall's son-in-law, Terry Murray (), has made a magnificent model of the tower and its surrounds. This is on display inside the tower..

It allows the whole project to be viewed from otherwise inaccessable vantage points.

Back outside, some discarded cannon balls which will not be required for today's firing.

A few moments of relaxation and sustenance before the big event.

Finally, into line and ready for action.

The crowd, including camera crews, are herded back to a safe viewing and listening distance; earplugs are distributed and inserted; and the excitement starts to mount.

Powder is rammed and packed down the cannon's barrel.

The cannon is rolled forward, the countdown is over and the fuse is lit.

And so the neverending story goes on. A lookout will henceforth be kept for the French and, if they dare appear, we will be ready, thanks to Niall.

Mainmast Conservation made the gun carriage.
Photoamble's video of the firing (last shot).
Niall's video - three shots.
Where did all the cannon go?
Dlrcoco Martello Towers Exhibition 2011

Back to Tower main page