History

1550

1550 Original Fortifications Fortifications on the site originally date from around 1550 and were further added to in 1600.

1601

1601 Battle of Kinsale Following the Battle of Kinsale, which finally saw England’s conquest of Ireland, the fort fell into disuse. The fort was fortified again at the end of the 17th century by the Jacobites in an effort to block the Williamites’ naval forces.

1690

1690 Fort Invaded In 1690 the fort was used to fire on the Williamite fleet as it entered Cork Harbour. However, a party was secretly sent ashore to attack the fort from the landward side and the fort fell to the invaders.

1799

1799 Napoleonic War At the start of the Napoleonic War (1799 – 1815), the naval establishment at Kinsale was transferred to Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour. Fort Camden was remodelled and numerous other defences were installed around the Cork coastline to provide protection to Haulbowline Island Naval Base and the surrounding harbour area.

1837

1837 Fort Camden used as a Prison By 1837 Fort Camden contained only a token force of a master gunner and eight men. The fort was briefly used as a prison. Prisoners were used for their labour in the construction of its fortification.

1861

1861 Large-scale Construction By the mid 1800’s Cork Harbour was seen as an increasingly important strategic position for the defence of Ireland, the west coast of England and Wales. Large-scale construction work began at the fort in 1861. In 1863 the War Department took over the work after the original contractor went bankrupt.

1891

1891 The Brennan Torpedo From 1891 ‘The Brennan Torpedo’, the world’s first practical guided missile, was based in only eight locations worldwide. Fort Camden was fitted with one of these installations.

1922

1922 Anglo-Irish Treaty When the Irish Free State was established in 1922, a clause in the Anglo-Irish Treaty left the harbour defences at Cork, Berehaven and Lough Swilly in the control of the British government. These ports became known as the Treaty Ports.

1938

1938 Handover of the Fort On the 11th of July 1938 the harbour defences at Cork were handed over to the Irish authorities. Eamon De Valera and Irish Military chiefs were present to take part in the historic handover ceremony.

1989

1989 Fort acquired by Cork County Council In 1989 Cork County Council acquired ownership of the fort. Long-term plans involved developing the fort into a major tourist attraction. Despite best efforts the fort remained closed and it became derelict and overgrown over the next 21 years.

2010

2010 Restoration Project On the 22nd of July 2010, the Community of Crosshaven joined forces with Cork County Council to begin a clean-up and restoration project at the fort. A ‘Rescue Camden’ committee was formed and a team of scheme workers, apprentices, instructors and volunteers began clearing, restoring and maintaining the site with great support from FAS and Secad.The fort began welcoming public visitors from September 2010.

2013

2013 In 2013 Camden Fort Meagher commemorated the 75th anniversary of the handover of the fort from British Forces to the Irish Defence Forces. The fort was officially renamed Camden Fort Meagher.

Whats in a name…?

Named: James’ Battery. Earliest documented fortification was known as James’ Battery.
Named: Rams Head Battery. The fort was upgraded over a two year period and renamed Rams Head Battery.
Named: Fort Camden. In Honour Of: The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Earl of Camden at the time, John Jeffreys Pratt
Named: Fort Meagher. In Honour Of: Thomas Francis Meagher, who led the Young Irelander’s and who unveiled the Irish Tricolour for the first time in 1848.
Named: Camden Fort Meagher. In Honour Of: The combined British and Irish history that shaped the fort.
cccrclogo A Cork County Council project in association with Rescue Camden.

Opening Times

SUNDAYS ONLY for the month of May. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from June - Mid September. Last Entry is strictly 45 minutes before closing time. Private tours are available for groups of 12 or more by calling us on 085 850 1483 or  bookings@camdenfortmeagher.ie

Tickets & Admission