Belvelly Martello Tower
Belvelly Martello Tower lies in the village of Belvelly on Great Island in Cork Harbour, in County Cork in Ireland.
Martello towers are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards. They stand up to 12 meters high (with 2 floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15 to 25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof. They were used during the first half of the 19th century, but became obsolete with the introduction of powerful rifled artillery.
Belvelly Martello Tower is one of 5 Martello towers built in Cork Harbour. They were the last to be built in Ireland, around 1813-1815, to protect against a possible French invading fleet. Their design is different than the majority of other towers built in Ireland. The Rossleague and Haulbowline towers were oval shaped and the remainder, amongst which Belvelly Martello Tower, had vertical walls. Three of the 5 Martello towers were positioned on the north side of Great Island, overlooking the Belvelly Channel that runs behind Cobh from Little Island to Midleton. The Belvelly tower is ideally placed covering the bridge that is the only road across to Great Island. It never saw action.
At present Belvelly Martello Tower seems to be used as a private residence and can not be visited. Belvelly Castle lies ca. 100 meters to the east.