1815 Watch Tower to Wild Atlantic Way Signature Point
Location: Bray Head, Valentia Island
Entrance: Car parking EUR2 per vehicle
Now a Signature Point along the Skellig Coast of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Tower at Bray Head, offers unrivalled views of the Skelligs, Blaskets, Valentia, the Dingle Sound, and the Iveragh Peninsula. There is a waymarked family friendly looped walk that incorporates the climb to the Watch Tower and continues along the north side of Bray Head. Full details including GPS details for the walk can be found at http://www.activeme.ie/guides/walks/bray-head-loop-walk/.
The abortive French invasion of Ireland in 1796 bought about a scurry of tower buildings along the west coast, so that signals could be passed from one to another in the event of another attack. Valentia Island’s tower is said to have been constructed in 1815 for this purpose. It was used up until 1920s by naval authorities as a signal station.
The old Bray Head tower was briefly re-occupied by coast watchers during the ‘emergency’ (World War II); it was they who set stones in the turf below the tower to spell out EIRE to advise passing (or mislaid) aircraft where they were.