IRELAND – A wildfire in Ireland has revealed an important WWII-era relic: a giant sign carved into the Earth, meant as a warning for Allied and Axis pilots. The sign was forgotten in the years after the war and hidden by shrubs and undergrowth. A fire last month cleared the plants away and uncovered the landmark.
The sign in question is one of more than 80 ‘EIRE’ signs constructed by the Irish government during WWII. Ireland was officially a neutral party during the war, and the government set up a series of watch sites along the coasts to monitor air and sea traffic. When war came to the British Isles, Ireland added large EIRE signs (for Éire, the Gaelic word for Ireland) at these watch sites to let pilots on both sides know if they were straying into neutral territory.
Since WWII, many of these signs have been destroyed, lost, or fallen into disrepair. Of the 82 created during the war, only about a dozen have survived, and most of those are in poor condition. The discovery of this new sign adds another to that list, and this particular specimen is surprisingly well preserved.
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
What will become of this rediscovered sign is still unclear, however. If a person or group steps up to renovate and maintain it, it could become a proper landmark, but if that doesn’t happen, it could simply be left to crumble and disappear again.