Irish wildfire reveals huge hidden ‘Eire’ signal from Second World War
Police helicopters have discovered a forgotten Second World War landmark, after a wildfire revealed a huge stone “Eire” sign along the Irish coast.
A large gorse fire on headland two weeks ago exposed the sign in Bray Head, County Wicklow, which was originally used to warn air crews of their location in neutral Irish territory.
The word Eire means Ireland in the Irish language.
The Defence Forces Air Corps noticed the landmark from above while assisting emergency services as they put the fire out.
The sign had been hidden for years by thick undergrowth.
“The signs themselves are quite common on the west coast but unusual on the east,” an Air Corps spokesperson said.
“The Air Corps helped put the fire out and then the Garda helicopter, which we fly, noticed the sign emerging from the past.”
In some of the 83 signs placed around the Irish coast, up to 165 tons of stone were used to create the navigational aides.
Many of the signs, which were carved into headlands for both Allied and German pilots, are still visible and have been restored by volunteers in recent years.
The Eire signs were also given lookout post numbers at the request of the US Air Force. It helped American bomber pilots navigate across the Atlantic.