Irish wildfires uncover massive Second World War sign

Landmark was to let Allied and German bombers know they were flying over neutral territory

Colin Drury
Monday 06 August 2018 17:42
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The massive World War Two 'Eire' sign uncovered by Irish wildfires
The massive World War Two 'Eire' sign uncovered by Irish wildfires

A huge but long forgotten Second World War aerial sign has been rediscovered in Ireland after wildfires burned away the undergrowth covering it.

The massive landmark – which reads “Eire” – would have been constructed to let both Allied and German air crews know they were flying above neutral territory.

But the sign, in Bray Head, County Wicklow, had become hidden under bushes and lost to memory until the large gorse fire exposed it again last week.

The country’s Air Corps noticed the stone word – which means Ireland in Irish – from above while assisting emergency services dealing with the blaze.

“The signs themselves are quite common on the west coast but unusual on the east,” said a spokesperson, as reported by Sky. ”The Air Corps helped put the fire out and then the Garda helicopter, which we fly, noticed the sign emerging from the past.”

Some 83 such signs were built or carved into the country’s coast during the conflict with an estimated 165 tonnes of stone used to create them. The idea was to protect Ireland from being accidentally bombed.

Many are still visible and have been restored by volunteers in recent years.

But the signs may have not been as completely neutral as claimed. Each one was given a lookout number at the request of the US Air Force to help its pilots navigate where they were after coming in across the Atlantic.

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