Dear friends and readers,
please enjoy this year’s Charles Fort impressions.
Country – Ireland
Province – Munster
County – Cork
Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a star fort located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland. First completed in 1682, Charles Fort was sometimes historically referred to as the “new fort” – to contrast with James’ Fort (the “old fort”) which had been built on the other side of Kinsale harbour before 1607. The fort is now operated as a heritage tourism site by the Heritage Ireland arm of the Office of Public Works.
Charles Fort was built on the site of an earlier stronghold known as Ringcurran Castle. The Ringcurran defences had featured prominently during the Siege of Kinsale in 1601.
With a focus on seaward defence, the landward and inland bastions of the fort are overlooked by higher ground. This weakness was of critical importance when the fort was subject to a 13-day siege in 1690 during the Williamite War in Ireland. John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (then 1st Earl) besieged Cork and captured Kinsale and its forts. Repairs were made following the siege.
An early lighthouse was established here in the 17th century by Robert Reading, and additional works (including internal citadel defences) were added through the 18th and 19th centuries.
The fort remained in use as a British Army barracks for two hundred years afterwards, before being relinquished by British forces following the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. The fort fell out of use after being burned by retreating anti-Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War in 1922.
The complex remained largely derelict for some time, but was named a National Monument of Ireland in 1971. Over the coming decades several sections of the fort were restored by the Irish heritage service. Restoration and development of the complex was later taken-over by the Office of Public Works (OPW) – including the development of an exhibition space in the former commander’s quarters. Charles Fort is one of the most visited OPW sites in the region, attracting in excess of 86,000 visitors in 2015.
Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake. ☘