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Signal Tower


This was one of 82 similar towers built between 1804 and 1806, part of a coastal defence system which also included Martello towers and gun batteries.Concerned by the attempted French invasion of 1797 and by the real threat of future invasion by Napoleon  the function of these towers was to signal information to naval vessels, usually using a system of flags hoisted from a central pole.Heather could also be placed at the top of the tower to be lit in case of emergencies.  There is a story that a soldier accidently lit the heather and rather than face a court marshal, he jumped from the top of the tower to his death. The nearest cemetery was 7 miles away and his colleagues grew tired of carrying his body and buried  him under a rock known as Carraig Reardon.

The tower originally stood three storeys high over a cellar and was manned by 10 men - a military guard and a naval signal crew. A road had to be built along the coast to bring materials to this remote spot. The tower was struck by lightening in 1989 and collapsed.

Nearby site:

Camp, Look out station

Eire sign


See also:

Signal Tower Brow Head

Signal Tower, Baltimore

Signal Tower, Toe Head


Ballyroon mountain
On the Sheep's Head Way south, Tooreen to Letter West
V840 342

This is a wild and exhilarating spot and on a clear day you can see for miles. In the late summer the colours of the gorse and heather are magnificent. It must have been a lonely billet for the soldiers garrisoned here watching the Atlantic Ocean, as it has a very end of the world feeling about it.