Martello tower at Blackrock to be restored

Tower will be open to public for `exhibitions and appropriate civic uses’

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will spend ¤100,000 restoring the Martello tower at Williamstown in south Co Dublin, between Blackrock village and Booterstown.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will spend ¤100,000 restoring the Martello tower at Williamstown in south Co Dublin, between Blackrock village and Booterstown.

Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 06:00

A Martello tower in south Co Dublin is to be restored to allow it to be open to the public.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will spend €100,000 restoring Williamstown Martello tower, on the coast close to Blackrock.

The tower is one of 16 built along the coast between Sandymount in Dublin and Bray, Co Wicklow. The coastal fortifications were constructed during the Napoleonic era and not all are still standing.

A spokeswoman for the council said conservation and maintenance works, under the direction of the architects and culture department, are currently being proposed to restore the Williamstown tower and to make it available for “exhibitions and appropriate civic uses”.

The work planned includes stone restoration, repairs to the roof, provision of services, security, internal restoration and some landscaping.

The spokeswoman said the work should commence after Easter and will take about six months. The council has also planned work for the James Joyce tower at Sandycove and the Martello tower on Dalkey Island.

Separately, councillors in Dún Laoghaire have called on county manager Owen Keegan to produce the licensing agreement it has with the Sandycove Bathers’ Association, which manages public access to the Forty Foot bathing place.

The association has been criticised for excluding women from its membership and preventing them from using its bathing huts.

In a report to councillors this week, Mr Keegan said the association occupied the Forty Foot pursuant to a licence dated December 24th, 1937.

“As per the lease agreement, free access for the public to swim at the Forty Foot is in place,” he said.

“Any issues relating to the membership policy of the Sandycove Bathers’ Association is a matter between the Sandycove Bathers’ Association and the concerned individuals.”

But councillors have demanded the licence be produced at a meeting next month.

Former minister for education Niamh Bhreathnach of the Labour Party asked how, under any agreement with a public body, the association could exclude women from its membership. She said the licence should be reviewed in light of modern equality legislation.