WW2 Look Out Posts
The Republic of Ireland was not directly involved in World War 2 from 1939-45, a period called The Emergency here. It was broadly supportive of the Allies and being at the western edge of Europe collected information and observed ship, aircraft and weather around our coasts. To this end, a network of 83 Look Out Posts, LOPs were constructed at advantageous points around the coast. Most seem to follow a fairly standard design, a small square, flat roofed single storey structure built of concrete blocks with a fireplace. Each LOP was manned by two observers from the Local Defence Force on an 8 or 12 hour shift, 7 days a week. They had a logbook in which to record observations and a telephone line to report sightings of note.
There’s a great archive here in the military archives: https://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/reading-room-collections/look-out-post-logbooks-september-1939-june-1945 You can look up the location of the various LOPs and view a sample of the logbooks relevant to most sites. The photo here shows LOP 62 at Erris Head in Co.Mayo and judging by the logbook, the days must have been fairly long and tedious as sightings of ships & aircraft can be days apart. Given the necessary exposed nature of many sites with just sods of turf for heat, I’d be thinking it was fairly miserable in winter. Presumably the men played cards and the like to pass the time but the nights would have been long. In summer, it could have been very pleasant if boring!
You’ll find these Look Out Posts marked on our maps at the likes of Moyteoge Head near Keem on Achill. At Brandon Head in Dingle or near Rosroe at Killary, at Kilmichael Point south of Arklow etc
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