Dingle’s Eask Tower

A small tower with big views.

Before I moved to Dingle I spent several years driving up and down from Kildare almost every weekend. At 5pm most Fridays I would race out the office door and disappear down the M50 taking my place in the general exodus heading south for the weekend. The drive down to Dingle never bothered me too much. Even with the heavy traffic and the long journey late into the evening I was always excited and happy to be on the road to my favourite part of the world. There's something about the Dingle peninsula - there's an allurement that goes beyond the stunning scenery, the warmth of the people or the music or the craic - there's a magnetism to the place that does something to your soul! I craved it back then and I'm still hooked today having lived here for the last 3 years.

Nearing the end of those journeys I used to always look forward to catching my first glimpse of Eask Tower. When the distinctly rounded shape of the tower would appear on Carhoo Hill it meant that I had just 8 minutes more driving until I finally reached my destination. The sighting of the tower would lift my spirits and my transition into Dingle mode for the weekend would be complete. Quite often the thought would occur to me that in the same way the sight of Eask Tower must have symbolised the ending of journeys for many seafarers since its construction over 150 years ago.

Built in 1847 as a famine relief project, the 12 metre tower is built of solid stone nearly 5 metres thick. The tower used to have a large wooden arrow pointing towards the mouth of Dingle harbour until it suffered storm damage in 2014. Eask Tower was built to guide ships safely towards the mouth of the Harbour. Having followed the direction of the arrow, vessels then had to navigate their way directly between two smaller white towers on either side of the entrance to the harbour in order to remain in the deepest part of the channel all the way in through the harbour. The ruins of these two towers can still be seen at either side of the mouth of the bay. Beside the tower there still stands a fully intact World War II Lookout Post. These posts were manned 24 hours a day by soldiers to protect Ireland’s neutrality during the war.

Eask Tower offers panoramic views out to the Iveragh peninsula, the Blasket Islands, across to Dingle town itself and to the mountains beyond. It is a magical location from which to watch the sun set over the Atlantic at any time of the year. It is an easy 10 minute drive from Dingle and can be reached on foot from the parking area on the road. The pleasant walk takes around 30 minutes and leads you through lush green pastures as you follow the path up to the tower. A €2 donation can be paid to the landowner. Don’t forget to close all gates as you go as there are usually sheep grazing in the area.

boys-n-tower    jez-eask-tower

A peaceful place, steeped in history -  and if you can see Eask Tower on the horizon you know you’re not far from a warm welcome, a cosy pint and the wild openness of the Dingle Peninsula.

Yasmin Kenny

 

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