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Fortifications in the Shannon Estuary and Galway Bay by Paul M. Kerrigan

Fortifications in Galway Bay: Finvarra Tower and Battery

Situated on a promontory on the south shore of Galway Bay, the guns of the Martello tower and the adjacent battery covered nearby beaches suitable as landing places. The tower is cam-shaped in plan, similar to the tower at Meelick on the Shannon and those built between 1810 and 1812 along the Essex and Suffolk coast of England. Three guns were mounted on the gun platform of the tower (see fig., below), while it is probable that the battery mounted some three or four guns. Nothing of the battery survives on the site today to indicate its size or layout, but it must have been just to the west of the tower on the low promontory. The deed for the tower, dated 21 March 1811, indicates the time of acquisition of the site or construction of the tower and battery. Mid-nineteenth-century records note a garrison at the tower of one officer and thirty-nine men, the adjacent house being for the master-gunner.

The tower has the usual entrance doorway at first-floor level, originally approached by a step ladder. Also at first-floor level are four window openings, similar to those at Meelick tower. It is constructed of ashlar masonry, the wall surfaces battered or sloping inwards towards the top. There is no string course to mark the level of the gun platform.

The 24-pounder cannon on Finavarra Martello tower, Galway Bay.
The 24-pounder cannon on Finavarra Martello tower, Galway Bay.
Photo: Paul Gosling. Archaeological Survey of Co. Galway.


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