The recently discovered “Eire” sign on Bray Head (a peak of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains at 241 meters), dating back to World War II, was cleaned and protected by a group of local volunteers.
The word “Eire” which means Ireland is spelled with blocks of granite and placed in an east-facing position on Bray Head. It had been funded by the then Irish minister in Ireland, David Gray.
Gray had made sure that maps showing numbered waypoints around the Irish coast were provided to the US Air Force as an aid to navigation.
The Bray Head sign was accompanied by the number 8, which identified the waypoint and a nearby lookout post.
It may have also served to warn air bombers that they were above a neutral country and thus prevent the area being bombed by mistake.
The north of Dublin had not escaped, and on the night of May 31, 1941, four bombs had been dropped by German planes on the North Strand area of Dublin. Some 28 people died and another 90 were injured, with 300 homes damaged or destroyed.
After the war, the sign of Bray Head was forgotten for decades and only reappeared after fires on the promontory during the summer drought.
Recently, these huge letters of granite stone forming the word “Eire” were cleaned by local volunteers, revealing their whiteness contrasting with the still blackened earth.
A local company provided weather-resistant paints, which were used to coat the rocks once they were cleaned.
The team of volunteers will continue to work on them over the coming weekends so that the rectangular frame and number eight above are completely restored.