Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio
The museum was the brainchild of Pat Herbert, hailing originally from Rathnamagh, Ardagh, Co. Mayo. It is the only working Radio Museum in any original Martello Tower on the planet!
After hearing radio/wireless for the first time aged 10 in 1947, when the All-Ireland Football Final was broadcast from the Polo Grounds, New York, Pat was mesmorised by the technology that allowed him to hear Michael O' Hehir's voice clearly across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
Throughout his life he collected all things radio and communications. On retiring, he decided to exhibit his collection. Early in 2003 he met with Fingal Co. Co. and agreed to exhibit his collection in the Martello Tower #2, Howth.
Previously, the local Lions Club had raised funds to convert the interior so really all that was needed was a suitable collection. So The Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio was born and Howth gained a new destination, breathing new life into the Martello Tower #2.
Throughout the years, Pat was lucky to have the support of many volunteers who gave their time and energy to make the museum a really special place, in a very historic location.
The History of the Tower goes back to Napoleonic Times when the Tower was finished in 1805, to defend against invasion by communicating between each other, mainly along the Irish East Coast.
In 1852 the 2nd Underwater Submarine Telegraph Cable in the world was completed between the Tower and Holyhead and the Tower remains the birthplace of Irish Telecommunications. In 1898 Marconi used Wireless Telegraphy, 2 miles opposite the Tower in Dublin Bay, reporting on the Kingstown Regatta.
This became known as the Birth of Radio and the 1st Journalistic/Sporting use of Radio.
In 1903 Lee DeForest (American Inventor) came to the tower to further experiment for the GPO in London and in 1905, while honeymooning in Ireland, Marconi set up a wireless station at the tower.
The museum is full of the history of early radio and communications in Ireland and beyond. With over 1000 exhibits, highlights include: Spark Transmitter, Edison Phonograph, HMV Monarch Gramophone, Seraphone, Round Ecko Radio, Art Andia Parrot Speakers, Paris Aerial, BBC Marconiphone, Tesla Ball and many more.
We'd love to welcome you to the Museum and keep the history of radio and broadcasting alive for present & future generations.