In 1803 Boulogne was an enormous camp for a French Army of 130,000 men and 22,000 boats, ready (under Napoleon) to invade Britain. Captain W.H. Ford of the Royal Engineers proposed to erect a chain of square towers for defence along the British coast, modelled on the gun tower at Mortella, Corsica. Ford's proposal went up the chain of command to Brigadier-General Twiss, General Sir David Dundas (who had been at Mortella), the Secretary of State for War, then the Committee of Royal Engineers. It caused much controversy and division throughout Parliament and the Armed Forces. The Royal Navy was very enthusiastic for the project, while the Army was divided in its opinion. Some Royal Engineers favoured towers, but not the square design. Proceedings seemed endlessly delayed, but in 1804 William Pitt became Prime Minister and immediately liked the project. He sent Twiss to survey the south-east coastline of England and define suitable sites. Twiss's scheme was presented October 21st 1804 at the Rochester Conference in Kent, was approved by Billy Pitt, the circular design adopted, and building immediately started.
Of the original Martellos in Ireland, nine (7 in S. Dublin and 2 on Bere Island) have been demolished.
Not one of the Martello towers served their original anti-Napoleonic purpose!
From Wikipedia: An omphalos is an ancient religious stone artifact, or baetylus. In Greek, the word omphalos means 'navel'. According to the ancient Greeks, Zeus sent out two eagles to fly across the world to meet at its center, the 'navel' of the world. Omphalos stones used to denote this point were erected in several areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea; the most famous of those was at the oracle in Delphi (shown). Most accounts locate the Omphalos in the temple adyton near the Pythia. The stone itself (which may have been a copy) has a carving of a knotted net covering its surface, and has a hollow centre, which widens towards its base. The Omphalos at Delphi came to be identified as the stone which Rhea wrapped in swaddling clothes, pretending it was Zeus. This was to deceive Cronus, his father, who swallowed his children so they could not grow up and depose him as he had deposed his own father, Uranus.
- No, no, Buck Mulligan shouted in pain. I'm not equal to Thomas Aquinas and the fiftyfive reasons he has made to prop it up. Wait till I have a few pints in me first.
He turned to Stephen, saying, as he pulled down neatly the peaks of his primrose waistcoat:
- You couldn't manage it under three pints, Kinch, could you?
- It has waited so long, Stephen said listlessly, it can wait longer.
- You pique my curiosity, Haines said amiably. Is it some paradox?
- Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde and paradoxes." (U1.545)
Buck Mulligan slung his towel stolewise round his neck and, bending in loose laughter, said to Stephen's ear:
- O, shade of Kinch the elder! Japhet in search of a father!
—We're always tired in the morning, Stephen said to Haines. And it is rather long to tell.
Buck Mulligan, walking forward again, raised his hands.
— The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue of Dedalus, he said." (U1.558)
In the Bible, Japhet is the son of Noah. 'Japhet in Search of a Father' is also the title of a father-quest novel by Captain Frederick Marryat (1792 - 1848), published in 1836.
Buck Mulligan turned suddenly for an instant towards Stephen but did not speak. In the bright silent instant Stephen saw his own image in cheap dusty mourning between their gay attires.
— It's a wonderful tale, Haines said, bringing them to halt again.: (U1.566)
This PC shows RMS (= Royal Mail Service) Leinster, one of the mailboats in service on the Irish Sea in 1904. The others were RMS Munster, Ulster, and Connaught. They carried the mail from Kingstown to Holyhead (Wales), to be distributed by train to its various destinations. Mailboats also took passengers.
Buck Mulligan at once put on a blithe broadly smiling face. He looked at them, his wellshaped mouth open happily, his eyes, from which he had suddenly withdrawn all shrewd sense, blinking with mad gaiety. He moved a doll's head to and fro, the brims of his Panama hat quivering, and began to chant in a quiet happy foolish voice:
- I'm the queerest young fellow that ever you heard.
My mother's a jew," (U1.577)
He'll get no free drinks when I'm making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That I make when the wine becomes water again.
He tugged swiftly at Stephen's ashplant in farewell and, running forward to a brow of the cliff, fluttered his hands at his sides like fins or wings of one about to rise in the air, and chanted:" (U1.589)