The planet is currently on fire, in case you hadn’t noticed. And although it’s having almost apocalyptic effects in certain locations, it’s also yielding some incredible findings in other places.
However, this week a gorse fire in County Wicklow, Ireland, revealed something entirely more modern: a message from the Second World War, carved into the land itself. The (frankly unreasonably) hot weather has already turned up new historical revelations in the UK and Ireland dating as far back as the Iron Age.
Police helicopters were the first to spot the marks, which spell out “ÉIRE”—the name of the nation in Irish—in large letters.
According to a spokeswoman for the Garda Sochána (Irish police department), “The Air Corps helped put out the fire and then the Garda helicopter, which we fly, observed the symbol coming from the past.”
More than 80 of these monumental memorials, each measuring 12 by 6 meters (39 by 20 feet), were actually hacked out of the ground during World War II and then constructed using up to 150 tonnes (165 US tons) of bleached stone set in concrete.
According to Michael Kennedy of Guarding Neutral Ireland, the Coast Watching Service constructed the signs by the summer of 1944 to alert “belligerent” aircraft that they were flying over a neutral country. The number of the neighboring lookout station was added to the signs at the United States Air Force’s request, converting them into air navigation aids that helped American bomber aircraft navigate over the Atlantic.
Before last week’s fire destroyed the dense vegetation that was concealing the County Wicklow sign, it had been hidden for many years. This recent discovery is remarkable in that it was made on Ireland’s east coast, but there are plenty other examples to be found all around the country’s 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) of coastline, as many Twitter commenters were glad to relate.
According to Skycam Ireland, the sudden visibility of the sign was not caused just by the fire; in typical Irish manner, the area had also recently suffered intense rain, which eventually revealed the lettering.
Ireland, which was still recovering from a civil war following a protracted struggle for independence from the UK, declared itself to be neutral during World War II, but in reality the nation supported the Allies. Irish intelligence was crucial to the success of the Normandy landings, which were subsequently made famous by the movie Saving Private Ryan. British planes were permitted to fly across Irish airspace, and Ireland frequently supplied intelligence with Allied forces.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that, you know, everything is dying even though this is simply another breathtaking spectacle to add to the lengthy list of breathtaking discoveries made by recent harsh environmental disasters. Good morning!