Garinish Island Martello Tower

Garinish Island Martello Tower lies on the island of Garinish, also known as Garnish or Ilnacullin, in the harbour of Glengarriff 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.

The British War Office built this Martello Tower around 1805 on the highest point of the island, offering superb views of Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island. Like other Martello towers in County Cork, its walls are vertical rather than sloping as is usual elswhere. This is said to be due to the high rainfall which washed the lime mortar out of sloping walls before it could set.

In 1910 the entire island was purchased from the War Office by John Annan Bryce, a Scottish businessman and politician, and his wife Violet L'Estrange. They intended to have a new mansion built which was supposed to incorporate the Martello tower as a music room. These plans were never carried out but they did lay out several gardens designed by Harold Ainsworth Peto.

Garinish Island Martello Tower itself is freely accessible. There is however an entrance fee to set foot on the island. You will also have to pay for one of the small ferries to get to the island. But a visit is really worth it. Not only because of the nice Martello Tower, which is the only one up until now which I could enter, but also for the nice gardens on the lovely island.


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Garinish Island Martello Tower

Garinish Island Martello Tower lies on the island of Garinish, also known as Garnish or Ilnacullin, in the harbour of Glengarriff 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.

The British War Office built this Martello Tower around 1805 on the highest point of the island, offering superb views of Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island. Like other Martello towers in County Cork, its walls are vertical rather than sloping as is usual elswhere. This is said to be due to the high rainfall which washed the lime mortar out of sloping walls before it could set.

In 1910 the entire island was purchased from the War Office by John Annan Bryce, a Scottish businessman and politician, and his wife Violet L'Estrange. They intended to have a new mansion built which was supposed to incorporate the Martello tower as a music room. These plans were never carried out but they did lay out several gardens designed by Harold Ainsworth Peto.

Garinish Island Martello Tower itself is freely accessible. There is however an entrance fee to set foot on the island. You will also have to pay for one of the small ferries to get to the island. But a visit is really worth it. Not only because of the nice Martello Tower, which is the only one up until now which I could enter, but also for the nice gardens on the lovely island.


Gallery