From now until August 28,
a whole host of incredible Irish properties and gardens are open to
the public as part of the annual Heritage Week.
We wanted to find out what historical
treasures were right on our doorstep here in Dublin and, voila, we
found a gem by the coast in the form of Portane's Martello Tower.
On arrival, the tower's keeper, Mr Bryan Greene (and two friendly cats) welcomed us to the structure and grounds. There isn't a whisper of sound out here; the sweeping views of Dublin Bay and Lambay Island must be the best in the county.
To say Bryan is an expert on the Portrane tower is an understatement.
Not only did he work with the previous caretakers of the property, but he helped the current owners restore the Martello to its present glory.
He has worked on the gardens here for almost a decade, and a detailed tour of the unique flowers and shrubs here is an experience in itself. In summer, thousands of daffodils bloom here.
And now for the inside. Extensions in the 30s and 60s added a series of rooms to allow the tower to be a liveable space.
The views are astounding. The library, sun room and bathroom are highlights, with teeny stone spiral staircases leading to the upstairs level ( the tower's original stairways, of course.)
The reason we have these towers dotted along our coast is down to Napoleon. Bryan explained that fear of an invasion by the French leader around 1804 led to the building of Martellos in Ireland.
The impenetrable structures allowed soldier to fire canon for miles and keep watch over the coastline.
Napoleon never did attack, but some of the towers remain today and, luckily, some owners have had the vision to restore and take care of these important historical cornerstones.
So, up to the roof where the canon would have lived.
We're not giving any more away. To really appreciate this place you simply have to visit. And you can! There are tours available, just see Heritage Week's website for more.
Thank you to the Tower's proprietors for allowing us to explore their home and a huge thank you to Bryan for his stellar tour.