The Signal Tower

He Jumped Off The Tower And Killed Himself
By Jack Sheehan, Farmer & Local Historian, Kilcrohane

“They had to keep dry heather inside in that tower all the time, in case there was any invasion they’d go up on top of the roof and light a fire above there. And there was another at Goleen who would take up the signal and light again, and all along the coast to Baltimore. And somebody was supposed to give the word to the military. That’s why they were called “the signal towers”.

According to Smith’s “History of Cork” it was built in 1632. In 1631 was the sack of Baltimore, and that’s why they were built.

Because landed gentry along the coast were making more money out of fishing than they were getting out of their tenants. That was the time of the pilchard fishing, which was a great moneyspinner.

They were afraid that the Algerian’s would come again and their valuable fishing would be destroyed, so they had influence and got onto the Lord President and he got onto the British government and they got money to build five or six towers. One was Sheep’s Head, one was Goleen, one was Cape Clear, and then along from that to Baltimore. There was a Sullivan that was loyal to the English that looked after the Bantry Bay side.

I heard some story about a soldier in the Tower that lit the fire accidentally and he was going to be courtmartialed, but he didn’t wait for it, he jumped off the tower and killed himself. Which was quite likely because a court martial of that time - he was going to suffer. They were going to bring him
to Kilcrohane caher, but they got tired on the way and buried him along the road in Balleragh.”