Charles Fort - Kinsale
Charles Fort is a star fort that is located on the waters edge in the charming harbour town of Kinsale in County Cork, on the west coast of Ireland. It is one of the finest remaining examples of a 17th Century star-shaped fort in the country. Overlooking the Old Head of Kinsale and the mouth of the Bandon river, it was well placed to see any potential attacks. This formidable fort was constructed between the 1670s and 1680s and was named after Charles II, who was in reign at this time. It was purposely designed and laid out in a star fortification to withstand attack by cannon. It has played an important and historical role over the centuries being associated with many momentous events in Irish history.
The fort undertook some damage during a siege in 1690 but repairs were undertaken. The fort continued in military use, by the British Army as barracks for two hundred years. In 1921 the fort was handed over by British forces under the conditions of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 but was damaged by fire by the retreating anti-Treaty forces during the Civil Irish War in 1922. In 1973 it was named a National Monument and has been partly restored, some areas remain in ruins.
It is a five bastioned star shaped fort, two of the massive bastions overlook the estuary and there are three that face inland. Protected by the walls were all the barracks and ancillary facilities to support the fort's garrison. The buildings are intact enough to provide an excellent insight into the life of a garrison.
There are spectacular views from here and all the more amazing from the bastions. Sitting on twenty acres there is a lot of area to be discovered.
Charles Fort is one of the finest military instillations within Ireland. It is open all year round. There are guided tours available that last about an hour, these qualified guides provide an in-depth knowledge on the history and workings of the fort. Due to uneven terrain it is advisable to wear suitable footwear. There are multi-lingual guidebooks available. The interactive displays are very good and the exhibits are well laid out around the fort and detail aspects of life and history in the garrison.
There are pleasant tea rooms on site where you can get refreshments. They are open daily from June through to September.