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’.
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.
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.
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!