Belfast Telegraph

Wartime warning rises from the ashes in Ireland

A huge but long-forgotten Second World War sign has been rediscovered in the Republic after wildfires burned away the undergrowth covering it.

The massive landmark - which reads 'Eire' - would have been to let both Allied and German air crews know they were flying over neutral territory.

But the sign, at Bray Head, Co Wicklow, had become hidden under bushes and lost to memory until the large gorse fire exposed it again last week.

The country's Air Corps noticed the stone word from above while assisting emergency services dealing with the blaze.

"The signs themselves are quite common on the west coast but unusual on the east," said a spokesperson.

"The Air Corps helped put the fire out and then the Garda helicopter, which we fly, noticed the sign emerging from the past."

Some 83 such signs were built or carved into the country's coast during the conflict, with an estimated 165 tons of stone used to create them. The idea was to protect the Republic from being accidentally bombed.

Many are still visible and have been restored by volunteers in recent years.

But the signs may have not been as completely neutral as claimed. Each one was given a lookout number at the request of the US Air Force, to help its pilots navigate after flying in over the Atlantic.

Belfast Telegraph

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