Signal Station Kilcoole

The Signal Tower at Glash in County Mayo
Buildings of Ireland website -

Signal stations in Ireland were built between 1804 and 1806 as a response to the threat of a French invasion. They contained a signal tower, which could be visible to the next signal station on either side. The stations were referred to as an “optical telegraph”, which could communication to the next station or send messages to ships off the coast. Ireland had 81 signal stations built, though by 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon, the stations were not as important in the defense of the UK. Most were abandoned due to the cost of keeping the stations.

In the book Castles and fortifications in Ireland, 1485 to 1945 by Paul M Kerrigan, it is records that at Ballygannon seven miles south of Bray and 11 miles from Dalkey there was a  signal station. The neighbouring signal stations were located at Dalkey to the north and at Wicklow Head to the south. The walls of a signal station at Ballygannon were recorded as being built by September 1805 and in 1806 work was continuing and that a signal mast was erected. The mention of a signal station at Ballygannon Co Wicklow can be backed up with the 1809 will of James John Duffy, who recorded that he was a Lieutenant of his majesty’s navy commanding the signal station at Ballygannon.


Kerrigan, Paul M;  Castles and Fortifications in Ireland, 1485  – 1945, Collins Press, Dublin (1995)

Hogan, Nick Picture of Ireland, Ireland’s Napoleonic era signal towers, The Irish Times Saturday, February 2, 2013,

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