Killeagh Airship Station
RNAS base located on the opposite side of the Irish Sea
from the from Wales, was deemed of strategic importance
for the Western Approaches. Shipping was coming in from
across the Atlantic and one of the major shipping ports
was Liverpool, located on the mouth of the River Mersey,
along side Bristol to the south. RNAS bases were being planned
at both Pembroke and Angelsey in Wales, but a base in Ireland
was also needed.
I Rigid Shed - Double Berth shed (840ft long, 150ft
wide, and 13oft high) Partially completed
1 Coastal Shed (356ft Long, 160ft wide, 75ft high)
2 x Rigid 33
2 x Coastal
was still part of Great Britain when war broke out in 1914,
and was geographically important. A small naval base was situated
at Queenstown (now Cobh) located near Cork in the south of
Ireland. It was thought that the naval warfare would be confined
to the North Sea or the English Channel, but this was soon
revised when the first German submarines entered the Irish
Sea and sank three ships in the mouth of the Mersey as early
as January 1915. With the sinking of the passenger liner R.M.S
Lusitania on 7th May 1915, being torpedoed by a German submarine,
off the South Irish coast, meant that the game has changed
and all shipping around the waters of the United Kingdom was
Three mooring out stations were set up along the coast of
the Irish Sea, at Larne to the north of Belfast, a mooring
out station for ships from RNAS Luce bay in Scotland, Malahide,
a mooring out site for the ships from RNAS Anglesey, and Wexford,
a mooring out site for ships from RNAS Pembroke. None of these
mooring out stations had airship sheds, but were normally
clearings in woodlands to use the trees as natural windbreak
A more permanent solution was needed and it was decided that
the site of Kelleagh near Cork surveyed and chosen as suitable
land around Killeagh was suitable for an airship station,
as it was flat and had access to an abundant supply of water.
It was also close in location to the Royal Naval base at
Queenstown, and also close to the Cork-Toughal railway line.
The contractors for the construction of the base came across
from the British mainland, along with much of the materials
to build the base. Building commenced on the aerodrome and
site in February 1918.
contractor was awaited to Mssrs F.Morton and Co., Liverpool.
Much of it was sent to the site via sea, arriving at Cork,
and then being transported to the airship station by rail.
A separate siding was built at Killeagh. Work continued
on the base for nearly a year after the Armistice was signed
in November 1918. Work was called to a halt on 20th August
shed was half finished and the other was about a third completed
when the construction was called to a halt. The station was
then transferred from the Admiralty to the Air Ministry in
1919. No further work was undertaken on the site after this
was envisaged that some of the large airship shed could be
used to build other bases which were being reviewed, for Cairo
and Egypt in connection with the plan to establish an airship
service across the British Empire. Some components of the
sheds had not been delivered to Ireland, and remained in store
The smaller Coastal shed was dismantled in 1921, and at independence,
the site was handed over to the new Irish Free State Government.
site of RNAS Killeagh remained derelict and much of the
corrugated iron cladding on the shed was stolen. In 1938
the site was shortlisted as a site for the new Cork Airport,
but a local politician overruled the idea as he didn't want
it built in his constituency. A few of the buildings and
a large concrete water tower have managed to survive albeit
in a derelict state.