The Old Head Signal Tower is just over 200 years old. It was built during the Napoleonic wars in response to the threat of a French invasion. There were 81 such towers with line-of-sight visibility from one to the next, these being an effective communications system that allowed the quick transmission of vital information using a flag and ball system.
Between 1804 and 1806 81 towers were built from Pigeon House Fort in Dublin (No. 1) all the way to Malin Head in Donegal. The Old Head Signal Tower is No. 25.
Following the failed French invasions, at the beginning of the 19th Century fears of a successful French invasion coupled with political unrest in Ireland caused the British authorities to build a series Signal Towers, Martello towers and Batteries around Ireland.
The ground floor of the signal Tower tells the story of the signal towers and its restoration.
The first floor of the Tower is devoted to the story of the RMS Lusitania, which was torpedoed during WW1 by a German U-boat on May 7th 1915 resulting in immense loss in life.
The Tower serves as a panoramic viewing point with access to the roof platform allowing the magnificent land and sea vistas to be fully appreciated. It is an ideal point from which to view the protected bird colonies on the western cliffs including puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, peregrines and choughs as well as the abundant marine wildlife often seen.
The area surrounding Old Head of Kinsale is steeped in history and hosts lovely blue flag beaches where you can try surfing. The local pub, The Speckled Door, serves delicious food all day and the nearby village has services including cafes, shop, pub and a petrol station. The Old Head is an uplifting and breathtaking area to visit.