County Wicklow in Ireland, has had a recent spate of wildfires threatening homes and forests.
However, one good thing has emerged from this troubling situation – a message, hidden since the Second World War.
The burnt remains of a gorse fire on Bray Head has revealed a sign saying ‘EIRE’ made of rocks, which would have been placed on the coastline during WWII to signal to bombers that they were flying over a neutral territory.
Éire means Ireland in the Irish language.
A Garda Air Support Unit crew spotted that the fire on Bray Head has revealed an “EIRE” sign dating from the Second World War.
We see these around the coastline but haven’t seen this before. pic.twitter.com/I6cwIrIori
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) August 4, 2018
The aerial sign was spotted by the Garda (Irish police) Air Support Unit as they flew over the area after the blaze.
Fires on Bray Head expose amazing World War 2 landmarks. The fires exposed the old Eire 8 sign,which is in reasonable condition. Photos courtesy of the Garda Air Support Unit, which is a mixed unit operated by Air Corps Pilots and Garda specialists. @gardainfo @opwireland pic.twitter.com/4vvg3HIjQv
— Irish Air Corps (@IrishAirCorps) August 4, 2018
This isn’t the only EIRE sign we know off. According to Michael Kennedy of Guarding Neutral Ireland there’s a number of them along the coasts.
“The signs were built by the Coast Watching Service by the summer of 1944 to warn “belligerent” aircraft that they were flying over a neutral country,” he said to Dublin Live.
“Up to 150 tons of stone were used in some of the 83 signs dotted around the coast of Ireland.
“At the request of the United States Air Force the number of the nearby lookout post was added, turning the signs into air navigation aids. This assisted American bomber pilots in navigating across the Atlantic,” he added.
However, according to the A Garda Air Support Unit crew, this is an unusual find, as not all of the WWII signs survived.
An Air Corps spokesperson told TheJournal.ie: “You can make out the Eire, and just above it the number 8 – it’s very faint. The number represented the Look Out Post (LOP) it was designated to. When they were in proper use, the signs would have been whitewashed.”
The LOPs were set up to guard against an invasion of Ireland, and required a person to keep watch at each site 24 hours a day.
Despite this historical relevance, it’s not even the coolest thing found this summer in the UK and Ireland.
A mysterious henge was revealed just last month in Ireland’s Brú na Bóinne, as the heatwave kills off grass and greenery all across Europe.
They’ve also discovered Roman farms, WWI air raid shelters and more.
Although this has been a fascinating time to see history of times past, we’re hoping the heatwave breaks soon.
A map of the neutrality markings around Ireland can be found here.