Martello towers were built round the Irish and English coasts between 1804 and 1812 to guard against Napoleonic invasion. Magilligan tower, built in 1812, together with another at Greencastle on the Donegal coast opposite, commanded the strategically important entrance to Lough Foyle. The circular tower is built of dressed stone, 10m high, 12m in diameter, tapering slightly upwards. The entrance at first floor level was by retractable ladder and the five-corbelled machicolation above gave added protection. The ground floor was a powder and ammunition store with a water cistern, the first was residential, and on the top was a 24-pounder cannon on a central pivot and circular rail. A fireplace in the thickness of the wall top allowed the defenders to heat their ammunition – lethal against timber ships. PLEASE NOTE: the tower is in Magilligan Nature Reserve. Visitors should take care not to stray onto the neighbouring army ranges.
Other historic places you can visit: