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Volunteers have restored Bray Head's huge WWII 'Eire' sign

The sign was revealed by recent wildfires after lying hidden for many years.
Sep 3rd 2018, 6:56 PM 72,722 63

© NEAT Media - www.neat.ie - EIRE SIGN - Bray Head - 1st Sept 2018 Source: NEAT Media

THE LARGE ‘EIRE’ sign on Wicklow’s Bray Head, which dates back to World War II, has been restored by a group of volunteers after recently being revealed by wildfires. 

The sign was spotted by a Garda Air Support Unit aircraft in early August after wildfires burned away a thick covering of gorse on the headland.

It is one of 82 ‘neutrality markings’ that were erected around the coast of Ireland during World War II.

The markings acted as navigational aids for aircraft that were passing over the island and were part of Look Out Posts that were set up to help protect the country from invasion. 

© NEAT Media - www.neat.ie - EIRE SIGN - Bray Head - 1st Sept 2018 Source: © NEAT Media - www.neat.ie - EIRE SIGN - Bray Head - 1st Sept 2018

The sign is made out of tonnes of rocks arranged in prominent fashion on the headland.

Local businessman Aidan O’Toole and three other volunteers spent the best part of a week cleaning the rocks and cutting back gorse roots in order to restore the sign to some of its former glory.

Many of the stones had moved over the years so the group spent a considerable amount of time rearranging them into their proper positions. 

“The E was half missing as the rocks had shifted around a lot but they were all nearby so we just replaced them,” O’Toole said to TheJournal.ie. 

Posted by on Friday, 19 July 2019

A local historian told the volunteers that the sign is made up of around 40 tonnes of stones.

After fixing them into the correct place the group painted them with highly weather resistant paint, which was donated by Sika. 

“Local man Declan Carroll works with Sika and he kindly donated 100 litres of special weather resistant paint,” O’Toole said.

We used it all, so there was a lot painting. It should last much longer than if it was just whitewashed.

As well as the word ‘Eire’ the sign also features the number 8, which was its Look Out Post number.

© NEAT Media - www.neat.ie - EIRE SIGN - Bray Head - 1st Sept 2018 Source: NEAT Media

The volunteers plan to complete their renovations over the course of the next few weekends by fixing and painting the number 8 and the rectangular box that surrounds the sign.

A map showing the rest of Ireland’s neutrality markings can be found here.

Anyone who is interested in helping the volunteers complete the job can contact Aidan by emailing Hello@neat.ie.   

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Ceimin Burke

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