The Towers never fired a cannon in anger, as Napoleon never invaded Ireland or England. However, it is believed that the Towers acted as a deterrent, as Napoleon had every intention to invade England using Ireland as a “back door” bridgehead.
In total there were 50 Martello Towers built in Ireland, and 103 built in England. The Military numbered the towers for easy reference. Towers were also built in South Africa, Majorca and the whole Mediterranean area but most are not Martello Towers, but rather defence towers against pirates.
The function and purpose of the Towers in Ireland today differs from one to another. In Dublin while there are 21 Towers that remain standing many are derelict, some demolished, some are owned by government departments, and others are privately owned, some of which are habited and some uninhabited. We believe that Martello Tower Sutton represents the best and most sympathetic refurbishment of any Tower in Ireland.