Bleach Green Watch Tower

The Folk Museum houses a variety of old buildings and dwellings which have been collected from various parts of Ireland and rebuilt in the grounds of the museum, brick by brick. It celebrates all aspects of our culture including many elements of Ulster-Scots heritage.

This distinctive small stone tower was built in the late 1700s as one of a pair of watch towers which guarded the bleach green at Tullylish near Gilford in County Down.  The watch man in the tower kept guard over long rows of newly woven linen laid out on the green to bleach in the sun, in the days before the introduction of chemical bleaching.

In the 1700s, Bleach green keepers or Watchmen were needed because parts of the Ulster countryside had no field barriers or gates.  Grazing animals had to be stopped from coming onto the bleach green because they would damage and mark the linen.  The watch men also guarded against theft.  Many Ulster-Scots settlers and Planters worked in the linen industry.