Charles Fort is a small fort outside of Kinsale. Bernadette and Dermot both recommended going there if we had time. We really didn’t have time but we stopped anyway. They were doing road work so we were detoured around town and really had a hard time finding it. Apparently normally it’s not difficult or so the locals tell us anyway.
Here’s what the heritage site has to say about it:
Charles Fort is a classic example of a late 17th century star-shaped fort. William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin, and Superintendent of Fortifications, is credited with designing the fort. As one of the largest military installations in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. The most significant of these are the Williamite War 1689-91 and the Civil War 1922-23. Charles Fort was declared a National Monument in 1973. Across the estuary is James Fort designed by Paul Ive in 1602.
We pulled up and I still wasn’t convinced we should stop. There is plenty of parking and it was fairly busy. It’s a OPW site so we really had nothing to lose. I’m tremendously glad we stopped. The fort was fascinating and the views were spectacular. You could see out to the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Kinsale Harbor on the other. There is also a working lighthouse on the site. You can pretty much go anywhere you want as long a you stay off the outer walls. Seriously that is a place you don’t want to be. In some places it’s a 20 foot drop to the water below.
The fort was occupied until 1922 so it had a very long life and that is reflected in the structure ruins there. There is also a smaller fort called James Fort but apparently it isn’t as well preserved.
It was incredibly windy there and a bit on the cool side but nothing major. You’ll want decent walking shoes as it’s pretty hilly.
I’ll add more pictures later…we’re off to Galway and then the Cliffs of Moher.