DOON HILL WWII LOOKOUT TOWER
Do you love history, nature and stunning views? If so, you might want to visit Doon Hill Lookout Tower, a historic landmark in the Connemara region of Galway. Doon Hill is an extinct volcano that rises above the boggy landscape of Aillebrack, near Ballyconneely village.
Doon Hill has a long and rich history that dates back to the Celtic times. The Irish name “dun” means “fortress”, indicating that there was most likely a fort on top of the hill at some point. The fort was probably built by the O’Flaherty clan, who were driven to Connemara by the Normans in the 13th century. The O’Flaherty’s also built Bunowen Castle, a nearby stronghold that was later used by the pirate queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) in the 16th century.
One of the most striking sights on Doon Hill is the folly, a stone tower that was built in 1780 by Richard Geoghegan, a local landlord, to commemorate the winning of freedom of trade by Grattan’s Volunteers, a group of Irish patriots who fought for legislative independence from Britain. The folly, which is also known as Geoghegan’s Tower or Grattan’s Tower, was mentioned by the famous novelist William Makepeace Thackeray in his travelogue The Irish Sketch Book (1843), where he described it as “a queer little round tower on a hill”. The folly is now in ruins, but it still offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and coastline.
Another historical structure on Doon Hill is the lookout tower, which was built during World War II as part of the Irish Coastwatching Service. The service was established by the Irish government to monitor the movements of ships and aircraft in Irish waters and airspace, as Ireland remained neutral during the war. The lookout tower on Doon Hill was one of 83 such posts around the coast of Ireland, and it was manned by volunteers who reported any sightings to a central station in Dublin. The tower also had a gun battery to defend against any possible invasion by the Germans, who were suspected of using Ireland as a base to attack Britain. The lookout tower is now abandoned, but it still houses an automated Coast Guard beacon that warns mariners of the rocky shore.
Doon Hill is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the history of Connemara and enjoy its natural beauty.
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