A NUMBER of strategic sites in Clare were identified as being key to Nazi Germany’s plan to invade and occupy neutral Ireland during World War II, a new top-secret dossier has revealed this week.
The document, which went under the hammer at an auction in England last Thursday for €2,961 – almost four times the reserve price – was compiled by Nazi spies in Ireland and graphically illustrates that Clare would have been given a crucial part to play in any German war effort conducted from Ireland.
In all, seven Clare sites were singled out by Nazi intelligence as having a role to play in German’s invasion plans in a document that clearly showed that neutral Ireland and the constituency of Taoiseach Eamon de Valera was viewed of strategic importance by the fascist regime.
The detailed document, which includes maps and analysis of the Irish countryside compiled by Nazi spies, shows how under Operation Green/Sealion, Hitler planned to overthrow the State and turn it into one of six regional hubs for Britain and Ireland.
Ardnacrusha Power Station – which had been constructed by the pride of German engineering, Siemens-Schuckert in the 1920s, at the cost of £5.2m, and at that time the biggest hydro-electrical plant in Europe – was circled as being a vital component in the German rule in Ireland.
Other key Clare sites included former capital of Ireland Killaloe, probably because of Lough Derg’s potential to cater for flyingboats, while the key coastal areas targetted by the Nazi regime were the Cliffs of Moher and Blackhead/Ballvaughan area.
The document entitled Militärgeographische Angaben über Irland contains detailed maps and postcards, with a number of images of Ardnacrusha highlighting it importance to the state.
These key places were numbered by military officials before being plotted on a series of eight fold-out maps, which would have been used during ‘Operation Sealion’. However, on September 17, 1940, Hitler was forced to scrap Operation Sealion because of the Luftwaffe’s failure to gain air supremacy over England during the Battle of Britain.
The Nazi offensive never took place after the German defeat in the skies, but experts believe the book reveals what could have happened if the Nazi’s had conquered Britain.
Hitler’s plans for Ireland included coastal defences at the Cliffs of Moher.