Monday 22 October 2018

WWII 'ÉIRE' sign revealed after Bray Head gorse fire

The 'ÉIRE' on Bray Head. Photo: An Garda Síochána
The 'ÉIRE' on Bray Head. Photo: An Garda Síochána
The Air Corps fight fires on Bray Head after gorse fires broke out in the early hours of Friday morning
A resident works to cut gorse and vegetation away from ESB poles near houses as the fire raged on Saturday
Smoke billows from Bray Head as the gorse fire rages. Photos: Barbara Flynn
Air Corps Helicopter drops sea water on to a gorse fire on Bray head this evening after people flying drones had halted their efforts

Conor McCrave

Incredible WWII era markings revealing the word ‘ÉIRE’ were discovered by the Air Corps in the aftermath of the Bray Head gorse fire.

The fire, which raged on the Co Wicklow hillside last month, caused damage to overhead railway lines and forced the evacuation of several homes. It was eventually extinguished following a joint operation between firefighters and the Air Corps - which dumped more than 150,000 litres of sea water on the blaze. 

The markings are common around Ireland and stem from the early 1940s, when they acted as signposts for aircraft including bomber planes flying overhead during the second world war.

Ireland remained a neutral country during the war which seen bomber planes from America and Germany travel through Irish airspace. 

The aerial photos of Bray head were captured by a Garda Air Support Unit passing over the landscape that was decimated by the fire during the recent heatwave.

An online project eiremarkings.org has captured images of the markings around the country in locations including Cork and Galway.

This discovery is the latest in a series of findings arising from the hot weather.

Just this week, remains of a building believed to be the childhood home of St. Oliver Plunkett was uncovered in Meath.

The National Monuments Service confirmed they were notified of the discovery.

Earlier this month, new archaeological discoveries were made near Newgrange and the Boyne river in Meath dating back to around 3,500BC. 

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