Achill WW2 Éire Marker Restored

Men working on the restoration of the WW2 EIRE sign. Photo: Brian McNeill.

Men working on the restoration of the WW2 EIRE sign. Photo: Brian McNeill.

Following the breakout of World War II in 1939 the Irish Government decided to build a series of look out posts (LOPs ) along the coast in order to protect our recently declared neutrality.

There were two built in the parish of Achill, one on the top of Moyteoge at Keem Bay from, where an infamous German U-boat was spotted, and a second on the Currane peninsula.

All in all, 82 look out posts were constructed along Ireland’s west coast from Cork right up to Donegal. Today we take for granted the many navigational aids we have at our disposal. In 1942 and 1943 as the war intensified on mainland Europe, such navigation often proved difficult.

Large makeshift markers painted white were constructed from stone with the words ÉIRE and the identifying number of the local look out post - an attempt to ward away German fighter planes, by informing them of the neutrality of the land below.

While Ireland was officially neutral during the war, a list of LOPs, their locations and corresponding numbers, were secretly handed over to allied forces to aid airmen in their navigation along the coast.

At night it is said that fires were lit close to some of these markers to help identify them. It was common practice that Allied airmen who crash landed in the Republic were given safe passage across the border to Northern Ireland while their German counterparts were held at the Curragh in Kildare by the Army.

Dooagh Day chairperson Tommy English said: “At our AGM, an action plan for 2018 was announced which included the refurbishment of the ÉIRE 59 marker. Last month, during a spell of fine weather, a group including Briain McNamara, John Patten, Patrick McNamara, and Brian McNeill began work on the restoration.

“The marker was at risk of being lost to the ground but thankfully, due to their fine work and supported by funds from Dooagh Day, the marker has been fully restored. We would like to thank everyone who helped."

Dooagh Day is the village’s annual festival which will take place this year from July 13 culminating in the main day on July 15 and aims to foster community spirit, revive old traditions, and to improve the village for both residents and visitors.

Since 2015 Dooagh Day has contributed to many local initiatives including buying strimmers for the local tidy village group, contributing to the costs of refurbishing the Dooagh Loop Walk, contributing to Dooagh Pipe Band, Dooagh School Band, and local charity, Gearoid’s Smile.

Last year it purchased three benches which will be in situ in the village for summer 2018 and most recently the organisation has contributed to the Achill Maritime Trail story boards which aim to keep the history of both Dooagh and Achill alive.

It is always looking for volunteers to help out in any way possible. You get in contact via email at [email protected].

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