Home And Away Guide: Martello Tower – Sutton Co Dublin

Martello Towers, or 'Martello’s', were small defensive forts first built in the South East of England during the Napoleonic War between 1805 and 1808. The name “Martello” derived from the name of a tower at Mortella point in the gulf of Fiorenzo. So impressed were the British by the strength of the tower, they suggested that similar towers would be useful in Ireland and England.  However, an error occurred during communication between the sides and the word “Mortella”, was written as “Martello”.  

The original towers are circular in shape, with 2-4 meter thick walls, which were made from solid stone all sourced locally. The front entrance doorways of the towers are 3.0 metres from the ground which meant at the time access to the entrance was only made by ladder which could be later removed to protect against an invader. The Towers never fired cannon in anger, as Napoleon never invaded Ireland or England. However, it is believed that the Towers acted as a deterrent, as Napoleon had every intention to invade.  

A large proportion of Martello’s have been converted to dwellings, many of those with an additional roof added on top. In Dublin alone there are 21 Towers that remain standing many are derelict, some demolished, some are owned by government departments, and others are privately owned, some of which are habited and some uninhabited. 

Martello Tower Sutton with breathtaking views across the north coastline of Dublin bay is the only tower in Ireland available for rental. The refurbishment is both sympathetic & impressive offering guests a truly unique self catering holiday option beside the sea. Accommodation consists of three levels: two bedrooms and bathroom on the lower level; living area and balcony overlooking the bay on the middle level; and a modern kitchen/dining room offering breathtaking 360° views from roof level. This unique historic building is available for rental as a holiday home, a short term letting or even corporate letting. Howth nearby has long been a popular destination for day trippers keen to explore its fishing village, its hills and sea cliffs.

Despite its proximity to Dublin city, it largely retains a remote feel on account of its relative isolation from the rest of the mainland. The harbour remains home to a substantial fishing fleet and the village is a smart affluent suburb of the Republic’s capital thanks to the DART railway service. The village and the cliff path draw many tourists throughout the year and expect to find some of the islands finest sea food restaurants here including my personal favourite “King Sitric”.

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Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio.

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