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Howth’s WWII ‘Eire 6’ neutrality sign unveiled by Michael D Higgins following restoration

President Higgins and his wife Sabina in attendance at the launch of the Eire 6 neutrality sign
THE NEWLY-RESTORED HOWTH Eire 6 wartime neutrality sign was formally unveiled on the East Mountain in Howth by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins on Saturday, April 8. The President was accompanied by his wife, Sabina Higgins.

The EIRE 6 sign was one of 83 aerial recognition signs built around the Irish coast during the Second World War to alert aircraft they were approaching neutral Irish territory.

Having been long buried, the Howth sign has now been restored by the local community as a mark of respect to those who served in defence of our wartime neutrality.

The sign was built in 1943 by the garrison of Look-out Post 6 of the Coast Watching Service at Howth Summit, which played a pivotal role in the defence of Dublin during the war.

The garrison was made up of local men with detailed knowledge of the coastal area. Throughout World War 2, they kept close watch over the coast and skies, around the clock, recording all movements of Allied and German aircraft.

“The Howth Éire 6 Restoration Group’s recovery of the Howth Éire Sign has saved an outstanding national artefact,” said Royal Irish Academy historian, Dr Michael Kennedy.

“The sign is a monument which informs us of Ireland’s experience during the second world war. Once a part of the national defence infrastructure, today the Howth Éire Sign is part of our national cultural heritage.’’

Lara O’Brien, Convenor of the Howth ‘EIRE 6’ Restoration Group, said: “The day will honour the local Coast Watchers who built the sign in the summer of 1943 and also celebrate a community coming together during a pandemic to restore this historic marker.”

Aer Lingus, the primary sponsor of the Howth EIRE 6 Restoration project, has also come on board to support a dedicated education programme to preserve the history of the sign.

Aer Lingus Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Donal Moriarty, said, “Aer Lingus is delighted to support the restoration of the EIRE 6 sign … For Aer Lingus today, EIRE 6 is also a recognisable landmark on our flight path, considered by crew and passengers alike as a ‘Welcome to Ireland’ upon descent into Dublin Airport.”

The restoration of the Eire 6 sign is another reminder of Howth’s rich heritage and a welcome addition to its unique historic footprint. Well done to all concerned.

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