The name Skerries comes from the Norse word ‘sceir’, meaning reef or rocky islands. This area has extensive views up along the east coast to the Mourne Mountains and down the coast to Howth and so is therefore a perfect vantage point for protecting the coast. Skerries has 2 Martello Towers. This one is located near the harbour and another one is on Red Island. These are 2 of approx 50 towers built by the British in the early 1800’s as a defense against a possible Napoleonic invasion. The name ‘Martello’ is thought to be a corruption of Mortella, a place in Corsica where a fortified tower was used to resist British forces during 1793. The British copied this design as they were so impressed with it. Over time these towers have passed into private ownership or have been converted for other uses. The tower on Red Island was used as a ballroom in the 1920’s, which was replaced in the 1940’s by Toft’s Amusements. This tower is unfortunately closed at the present time.

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