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Magilligan (named after "MacGilligans country") peninsula lies in the northwest of County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, at the entrance to Lough Foyle. It is a huge 32 km2 coastal site, part British army firing range, part nature reserve.
A Martello Tower was built here in 1812, rather late in the British sequence, as the original plan for a fort at Magilligan point was impractical due to soft ground. A genuinely round tower mounting two 24 pounder (11 kg) guns, it has been beautifully restored but is normally locked.
The famous Irish harpist Donnchadh Ó Hámsaigh lived in Magilligan.
Ordinance Survey of Ireland
Magilligan served as the base line for triangulation for the mapping of Ireland in the 19th century. Colonel Thomas Colby chose Magilligan due to the flatness of the strand and its proximity to Scotland (which, along with the rest of Britain, had been accurately mapped in previous decades). A straight line precisely 30,533 ft was measured from North Station to Ballykelly in 1828 from which all other references were measured. The survey finished in 1846 when Kerry was mapped.
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