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Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower
Kinsale, Co. Cork
Discover the interesting story of Ireland’s only restored Napoleonic Signal Tower and enjoy the panoramic views from the rooftop walkway. The Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower in Kinsale, County Cork, is the closest point of land to the final resting place of the tragic RMS Lusitania.

From Dublin to Donegal, 81 Signal Towers were built within sight of each other in response to the potential of a French invasion. The Old Head Signal Tower in County Cork is number 25. It was built in 1804. The towers used flag and ball communication systems to signal to each other regarding any perceived threat. The ground floor of the Signal Tower explores the story of Signal Towers, rebellion and the ancient history of the Old Head of Kinsale.

The first floor of the tower is devoted to the RMS Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German U boat during World War 1 and sank 19kms off the Old Head of Kinsale. The luxurious liner sank in just 18 minutes resulting in an enormous loss of life. On display are some artefacts from the wreckage and memorabilia of survivors.

In the Lusitania Memorial Garden, the 20 metre wave sculpture reveals the story of the Lusitania through powerful imagery, including the names of every person aboard the ship on 7 May 1915. It acts as a permanent reminder of the catastrophic consequences of war on civilian lives.

From the top of the Old Head Signal Tower enjoy views of the Atlantic coastline. The first Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route is located at the Old Head Signal Tower. There is also a café onsite and a museum gift shop.

The Old Head of Kinsale is a great destination for a day out with coastal walks, blue flag beaches and local restaurants to enjoy following a visit to the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum.

Why we like it
  • Experience expansive coastal views from the top of the historic Signal Tower viewing point.
  • Visit the Lusitania Museum and learn about the RMS Lusitania, torpedoed during WW1.
  • Stop at the Memorial Garden, telling the story of the Lusitania's fatal journey from New York to its final moments.
  • Enjoy some tasty refreshments at the Signal Tower Cafe or browse the museum gift shop.
Tips from locals

Binoculars are available for you to enjoy the magnificent views from the top of the Signal Tower.

Family friendly
Rainy days
Free car parking
mapGet directions on Google Maps
Contact details
Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower Project, Ballymackean, Old Head, Co. Cork, P17 T683, Ireland
Visit duration

We recommend planning to spend 1 hour to 1.5 hours here.

More to discover at Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower
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