Help For Ringaskiddy Martello Tower
Writes Leo McMahon
A bid by local residents to apply for inclusion of Ringaskiddy Martello Tower in the Heritage Council’s Adopt a Monument Scheme 2017 and make it accessible to the public as a heritage attraction was unanimously supported on a proposal by Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) at the recent meeting of Cork County Council’s Carrigaline-Ballincollig Municipal District (MD).
The site is owned by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and a motion from Cllr D’Alton also proposed that this body be written to and asked to back the efforts of Ringaskiddy and District Residents’ Association in the upkeep of the protected structure.
‘The tower was built around 1815 as part of the network of military fortifications of Cork Harbour designed to deter Napoleon Bonaparte from invading Ireland’, said Cllr D’Alton. These include Fort Davis (Carlisle), White Bay; Haulbowline (where the tower is a Naval museum), Fort Mitchel (Westmoreland) on Spike Island and Fort Meagher (Camden), Crosshaven, the latter two of which have become popular heritage attractions.
‘Although Martello towers were built in several locations around the country, the Ringaskiddy one is a particularly fine specimen. It is unusually large, built in a dry moat and is surrounded by a glacis (a grassy hill designed to provide extra protection against the enemy). It was designed to take two guns on its roof and connectivity was provided directly between it and Fort Westmoreland on Spike Island by a path running from the tower directly to the beach below. Some of the ordnance stones marking the original military ground and path remain to this day.’
Cllr D’Alton went on: ‘Although there are other towers in the harbour area, none is of the calibre of that in Ringaskiddy. In fact, through much research, we have deduced that the Ringaskiddy tower is the largest in reasonable condition standing in an original moat in the world. It’s also the last remaining item of heritage in Ringaskiddy village.’
‘The IDA has a responsibility for upkeep of the tower under Section 58 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 and residents would like to assist. It has the potential to be a significant asset to Ringaskiddy generally as a heritage tourism attraction in the ferry port and could enhance industrial development for employees who demand a high quality environment,’ said Cllr D’Alton adding that she and one of the Ringaskiddy group and the council’s heritage officer were willing to meet with the IDA.
MD officer Mr Kevin O’Donovan said the deadline had passed to make an application for the 2017 Adopt a Monument Scheme but the MD could issue a letter of support to the group.
Cllr D’Alton said the application from the residents was made on time. She had already been in correspondence with the IDA but awaited a response. It wouldn’t cost the IDA anything and all that was being sought was goodwill and permission for access from a community group offering to help.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) seconded the motion that the MD write to the IDA. Cllr Deirdre Forde (FG) and other members concurred.