Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

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Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio
Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio logo.png
Martello tower -near Howth -Ireland-3Sept2008.jpg
Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio is located in Dublin
Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio
Location within Dublin
LocationHowth, Fingal, Ireland
Coordinates53°23′16″N 6°03′49″W / 53.387668°N 6.063654°W / 53.387668; -6.063654Coordinates: 53°23′16″N 6°03′49″W / 53.387668°N 6.063654°W / 53.387668; -6.063654
Typecommunication history
CuratorPat Herbert
Public transit accessHowth railway station
St Laurence Road bus stop (Dublin Bus route 31)
Howth Martello Tower before the establishment of the museum

Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio is a museum of communication history based in the Martello tower in Howth, Dublin.[1]

Tower history[edit]

The tower was built in 1805, one of the many towers built along the Irish coast to guard against a possible Napoleonic invasion,[2] and has long been associated with the history of radio transmission in Ireland and beyond.[3] From 1825, the tower was used by the Preventative Water Guard (now the Irish Coast Guard) in its anti-smuggling work.[1]

The tower was the terminus of the first telegraph connecting Wales to Ireland in 1852.[2] The first successful wireless radio transmission by Lee de Forest on 23 November 1903 was also conducted from this tower.[3] Guglielmo Marconi demonstrated his technology using a high aerial to communicate with a ship in 1905.[1] From 1922, the tower was used by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, then Telecom Éireann until the 1980s when it was sold to Dublin City Council.[1]


The tower was refurbished in 2001,[1] with the museum opening in 2003, and is based around the collections of curator Pat Herbert[3] who has been collecting for over 60 years.[4] The name of the museum is an homage to a remark by Taoiseach Seán Lemass, who asked an RTÉ radio controller in the 1950s "How's the hurdy gurdy?".[5]

The exhibition includes artefacts relating to all forms of communication and related Irish historical events, [2] including radios, early televisions, gramophones, and records.[3] The Morse code-based amateur radio station, EI0MAR, operates from the museum.[6] The story of curator Herbert and the museum was the subject of a 10-minute award winning film in 2014, Hurdy Gurdy Man.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Sylvia (4 August 2012). "Heritage hot spots: History, nature, art, environment". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radios (Industrial)". Irish Museums Association. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Museum of Vintage Radio in Martello Tower". Atlas of Ingenious Ireland. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b Russell, Cliodhna (23 February 2014). "Gramophone and radio collector: 'Throwing away records is sacrilege'". The Journal. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ Ó Conghaile, Pól (2013). Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide. France: JonGlez. p. 259. ISBN 2361950715.
  6. ^ "Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio". Ask Ireland. Retrieved 8 May 2015.

External links[edit]