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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