Dunkineely EIRE sign to be restored

- Volunteers needed

Dunkineely EIRE sign to be restored

Part of a map showing the numbers assigned to each marker

Anyone with an interest in local history or the local landscape is asked to help out with the restoration of the historic EIRE sign at St John's Point.

Dunkineely Community Ltd (DCL) are spearheading this initiative which aims to restore the white stone marker and ID number which were used as a navigational tool by pilots.

It's also hoped that the project will be able to go on to also restore the Local Defence Force Lookout Post at a later date.

DCL's Michael Cunningham explains. "This project offers a real chance to be a part of history.

"Our landscape still features reminders of World War II. These include the Local Defence Force Lookout Posts, such as the one at St John’s Point, from where volunteers kept an eye on the unfolding drama offshore.

“There is also the EIRE sign, at the end of ‘the point’, that was made from whitewashed stones which could be seen from the air by passing aircraft

“And there's is a war grave in St Peter’s Churchyard as well. All of these things have an intertwined and fascinating story to tell.

"In close proximity to each of the LDF Lookout Posts was an arrangement of whitewashed stones that spelled out the word EIRE, that could be clearly seen from the sky.

"It could be looked upon as a declaration of Irish independence, sovereignty and neutrality, but just beside each of the EIRE signs was a number. The one at St John’s Point was 70, the next one along the coast at Carrigan Head is 71. In fact, each of the 83 Lookout Posts around the Irish coast had an identifying number that could be seen from the air. These signs, and later the numbers, were added at the request of the David Gray, the American Ambassador in Dublin.

"In the run up to D-Day on the 6th June 1944, and the subsequent assault on Germany, there were countless aircraft coming across the Atlantic from America.

“On making landfall on this side of the Atlantic, it was important for the pilots to know where they were. The Irish government provided maps with these navigational numbers on them for the American pilots. Once they saw one of the numbers, they knew exactly where they were on the map and could easily navigate from there to their final destination.

"Today’s events are tomorrow’s history. In time, your actions in helping with this restoration will be part of history."

Restoration work is set to begin on Thursday, September 1.

If you would like to help, please contact Michael on 087 2770408, at dunkineelycl3@gmail.com or the Dunkineely Community Ltd Facebook page.

"A few hours of your time will go a long, long way... all the way into history!" Michael concluded.