Blog post – Ringaskiddy martello tower

We here at Mizen Archaeology, pride ourselves when we get the opportunity to work in our very own Cork Harbour! Anytime we are, we always take the time to visit nearby heritage sites to appreciate them in their original landscape setting. Today, we want to show you what we encountered recently on one of these visits–a Martello Tower. There are a total of five located around Cork harbour but are also present along the coastline in other parts of the country and also abroad (for more information on the location of these towers and to check is there one in your area, visit the National Monuments website at

During the Napoleonic wars of the nineteenth century, the authorities who were motivated by fears of a French landing, built these towers, which essentially were small forts built around the coast of Ireland and were used as lookout towers. Many of these towers still stand today and have various uses.

This particular tower is located at Ringaskiddy and has the dual protection of being both a recorded National Monument (CO087-053) and listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (Reg. No. 20987047). The tower was built in 1804 and is the largest of the Cork Martello’s. It was constructed of limestone and it stands at a height of just over 12m. It is located on the highest point of Ringaskiddy and has magnificent views of the harbour. Its rounded form and thick walls made it resistant to cannon fire. The tower is surrounded by a limestone-lined moat.

Unfortunately, this tower is not accessible to the public but not to worry, as there are many that are around the country including; the James Joyce Tower at Sandycove, Co. Dublin which is now a museum.

Ringaskiddy martello tower