When the historic James Joyce Tower and Museum was at risk of closing, locals were aghast and rallied towards conserving the historical treasure.
Located in Sandycove, the cultural attraction of international renown had fallen into disrepair and the necessary resources required to maintain the beloved structure were not forthcoming.
However, a number of volunteers came together to create the ‘Friends of Joyce Tower Society’ with the sole objective of keeping the tower and its museum open.
With the support of Fáilte Ireland (the tower’s current custodian), the Society now operate the tower and keep it open (free) to the public everyday from 10am to 6pm during the summer season and 10am to 4pm for the winter period.
The tower itself is a great example of the Martello towers built, by the British, in Ireland in the early 19th century to defend against a threatened Napoleonic invasion.
Best known for featuring at the beginning of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the tower today houses a museum which contains letters, photographs and personal possessions of Joyce.
There were 28 towers built in Dublin, 16 on the southside and 12 on the northside, for example in Sutton, Howth and on Dalkey Island and Killiney Hill.
First called ‘Mortella’, their name was then changed to ‘Martello’ over time, giving us ‘Martello Tower’.