Kernan Lough Searchlight Battery, Gilford, Co. Down

Kernan Lough is a popular fishing spot near Gilford in Co. Down. In the 1940s, it was home to a Searchlight Battery Unit of the Ulster Home Guard.

Kernan Lough Searchlight Battery

Kernan Road


Co. Down

BT63 6BX

Northern Ireland

Kernan Lough lies in the rolling Co. Down hills between Gilford and Banbridge. It is a popular fishing spot and each year, Gilford Angling Club stock the waters with fish. During the Second World War, it was the setting for a remote Searchlight Battery.

In 1940, the threat of a Nazi invasion hung over Northern Ireland. With the fall of France in the summer of 1940, Ulster was also within reach of the Luftwaffe. On high ground overlooking Kernan Lough near Gilford, Co. Down, a cluster of red-brick buildings housed a Searchlight Battery. From here, high-powered beams could scan the night skies, watching for enemy bombers and fighters.

These buildings only housed a few men at a time. As well as manning the searchlights, they also had the task of guarding the lough. Advances in technology meant Germans could perhaps land seaplanes in Northern Irish waters.

Many decades later, these buildings still stand. Once home to a Home Guard Searchlight Battery Unit, they remain whitewashed as they were in the 1940s. In some rooms, the unit has left their mark for future generations to observe. While they may be in ruins and shelter livestock, they are a rare example of surviving Second World War era structures. The buildings feature thick protective blast walls covering the doors. Other nearby buildings such as those used to house the searchlights have disappeared over the years.