In 1898 the British Military raised a compulsory purchase order on the eastern end of Bere island, West Cork. Tenants were cleared from the land in order to construct fortifications. The purpose of these fortifications was to protect the British Fleet at anchor in the bay while routine maintenance was carried out. Seven gun batteries were constructed at the Ardaragh Battery and the larger Lonehort Battery. These fortifications remained in British hands until 1938 when they were handed over to the Irish forces. Irish forces still operate on the island, based mainly in ‘Fort Berehaven’ which is located only one mile from Fort Lonehort.
Fort Lonehort has been unoccupied since the 1970s and now lies abandoned and overgrown with the two remaining six inch guns slowly rusting away. The land has been earmarked for development into a tourism site however there seems to be no information on the current progress of this development.
Bere Island is quite isolated and although there are regular car ferries to the island, tourism doesn’t seem to have taken off here. Due to this, the difficult access to the fort and therefore very little foot traffic, barely any vandalism has occurred here. This means Fort Lonehort is a rare example of a nearly untouched naval fort and probably one of the best preserved naval forts in the country.
The 9 inch shell lift located in the tunnels below where the 9 inch gun used to be located. This would be used to load shells from the underground ammo store into the gun directly above it.
The two remaining 6 inch guns
6 inch shell lift