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Display of Napoleonic Cannon Balls to Fire Campaign for proposed Balbriggan Maritime Museum

9th February 2013
Display of Napoleonic Cannon Balls to Fire Campaign for proposed Balbriggan Maritime Museum

#MuseumCampaign – Fisherman who donated four 28-pound cast iron cannon balls of over 200 years old, are in need of a 'permanent' home as the Balbriggan Maritime Museum is currently based out of a local tourist office , writes Jehan Ashmore.

The cannon balls which were located within a quarter of a mile on the seabed, may be significant, in that they were possibly fired from a Martello Tower, as these cannon balls were too heavy for most warships in service in the early 19th century.

It is known that no Martello tower in Ireland (built from 1805) has ever fired its cannon in anger. However, could these cannon ball discoveries have resulted from the testing of the Martello Tower mounted guns in anticipation of a French invasion?

Whatever is the explanation, the display of the prized Napoleonic cannon balls, will no doubt generate much interest, however many more maritime related exhibits from Fingal's rich maritime heritage remains out of sight.

"We are grateful to Balbriggan Tourist Office for the use of part of their premises in Quay Street to give the public a sample of the wealth of historic items which are currently in cold storage", said a former Green Party leader Trevor Sargent, who is chairperson of Balbriggan Maritime Museum.


Trevor Sargent, chairperson (right) of the museum stands beside the display of Napoleonic cannon balls 

Today marks the museum's first anniversary, when Minister for Heritage Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, opened a one-day long 'pop-up' version of the maritime museum in Balbriggan, at the Bracken Court Hotel. Since then, until a proper museum building can be secured, there will be a unique rotating exhibition on display, albeit using limited space, with the kind support of Balbriggan Tourist Office.

Johnny Woodlock, marine conservationist and treasurer of the museum committee said 'We urge everybody to visit the latest historic display in the Balbriggan Tourist Office". He called on those viewing the display to leave a comment in the visitor's book so to assist in drawing a stronger campaign to establish a proper maritime museum, benefitting tourism and the public in general.

For further details about the proposed museum, contact Frank Duffy, Honorary Secretary of the Balbriggan Maritime Museum on 083 114 65 31 and

Published in Coastal Notes
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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