G3237 : Rathlee Signal Tower, Co. Sligo (1)

taken 8 months ago, near to Rathlee, Walshestown, Quignalahy, Cabraghkeel and Lenstown, Sligo, Ireland

Rathlee Signal Tower, Co. Sligo (1)
Rathlee Signal Tower, Co. Sligo (1)
In response to the 1798 Irish Rebellion and the threat of invasion from the French during the Napoleonic wars, as many as 50 signal towers were built by the British at many remote coastal sites in Ireland from 1804 onwards. They were never designed to hold artillery, but were part of an optical telegraph system that involved each signalling station to be visible to its counterparts on each side. With the threat of invasion significantly diminished after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, most of these stations were eventually abandoned to become ruins like this example at Rathlee.

It should be mentioned that there is an old plaque inset into the wall of the tower erroneously describing it as the ruin of an O'Dowd castle LinkExternal link and confusingly, it's also been suggested that the signal tower actually stands on the site of an O'Dowd castle called Rathlee. It's entirely possible therefore that the plaque was removed from this castle, and then placed on the signal tower at some later date. With the signal tower having been built to resemble a typical Irish tower house of the medieval period, it's easy to see how the plaque's inscription has been accepted by many visitors at face value, not helped by Ireland's Ordnance Survey designating it as a castle on their 1:50,000 map of the area. At least there is now a modern signboard alongside the tower with an accurate description of it, and its role in Irish history.

G3237 : Rathlee Signal Tower, Co. Sligo (2)
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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G3237, 6 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Saturday, 16 June, 2018   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 4 July, 2018
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Housing, Dwellings  Construction, Development  Defence, Military 
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! G 3222 3734 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:16.8237N 9:2.4807W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! G 3221 3735
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Other Tags
Signal Tower 

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Image Type (about): geograph  (Second Visitor for G3237) · First in 5 Years (TPoint) (about)
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