On a stroll along Quay Street in the west coast city of Galway, Ireland, you’ll weave through busking artists and musicians, students, locals, and visitors before reaching Wolfe Tone Bridge. Take Wolfe Tone over the River Corrib, and a path will lead you to the Fishery Watchtower. The building has been restored and converted into a tiny, free museum.
Originally built in the 1850s, the Victorian tower is the only structure of its kind in the country, designed as a station for draft netting (a method of fishing that uses a rowboat and a long net secured to the shore on one side). Personnel used the lookout to monitor fish stocks, and the vantage point helped them keep an eye out for illegal fishing operations along the river. When commercial net fishing was phased out in the 1970s, the building became obsolete.
Inside the historic landmark today, the history of the local salmon fishing industry is recounted through memorabilia, vintage photographs, and exhibits. And from the three-story structure’s lookout, guests can bask in the same stunning views of the waterway that fishery staff once used for surveillance.