Report Completed on Bere Island’s Napoleonic-Era Defences

Last year’s work on Bere Island off the coast of West Cork concentrated on a historical and physical survey of the island’s Napoleonic-era defences in order to learn as much as we could about the origins of the protracted military presence there. The results of this work have now been synthesized in a report entitled ‘Safe Haven: the effectiveness of the defensive network of Bere Island in the early nineteenth century’.

The Overview Survey of Martello Tower 3 and Battery 3 at Cloonaghlin West, with the military road connecting them (Louise Baker, Rubicon Heritage Services)

The Overview Survey of Martello Tower 3 and Battery 3 at Cloonaghlin West, with the military road connecting them (Louise Baker, Rubicon Heritage Services)

Invaluable grant funding from The Heritage Council was received for this work, with Rubicon Heritage Services supplying the additional monies and resources required. The report (running to over 17,000 words, with 31 figures and 118 photographs!) was finalised in November. This report has been shared with Bere Island Projects and Bere Island Heritage Centre, and a public presentation will also be arranged on it in the coming weeks to inform islanders of the results. We are also currently exploring further avenues for making the results as widely accessible as possible, including publication.

Survey and Photographic Elevations of Battery No. 4 at Ardagh (Louise Baker & Jonathan Millar, Rubicon Heritage Services)

Survey and Photographic Elevations of Battery No. 4 at Ardagh (Louise Baker & Jonathan Millar, Rubicon Heritage Services)

The report is made up of a number of different sections, including the background to the project, its aims and the way it was carried out. The main sections explore the political and military context of the Bere Island defences, the coastal defence of Ireland during this period, the coming of military defence to Bere Island, the island’s armament and each of the individual sites themselves. Finally the effectiveness of the defences and their main purpose are assessed in light of the historical and physical survey. Some of the illustrations from the report are included here to highlight the type of product the report produced.

The remains of one of the two gun batteries at Battery No. 4, Ardagh. It is our hope to excavate this site as part of the project. (Louise Baker & Jonathan Millar, Rubicon Heritage Services)

The remains of one of the two gun batteries at Battery No. 4, Ardagh. It is our hope to excavate this site as part of the project. (Louise Baker & Jonathan Millar, Rubicon Heritage Services)

It is our intention to continue our annual explorations of different aspects of Bere Island’s military heritage, so stay tuned for more on further plans both to communicate last year’s results to as wide an audience as possible, and also our plans for the future!

Map of Bere Island with arcs of fire and ranges of the Napoleonic-era defences. Note the concentration on defending Laurence Cove on the island's northern shore. (Louise Baker, Rubicon Heritage Services)

Map of Bere Island with arcs of fire and ranges of the Napoleonic-era defences. Note the concentration on defending Laurence Cove on the island’s northern shore. (Louise Baker, Rubicon Heritage Services)

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. David Sankey

     /  April 11, 2013

    Curious what – if anything – survives of the british naval station, which remained up until 1938

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      The island is absolutely full of military archaeology relating to it’s time as a Treaty Port- some of the best WW1 and WW2 sites to be found anywhere in Ireland. I would highly recommend a visit! Lonehort Battery retains some of the guns that were in use there, and there are reminders of the Island’s importance as a naval base around virtually every corner. A real treasure trove of history!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 354 other followers

%d bloggers like this: