This naval fort has been abandoned long ago and is now slowly being reclaimed by nature. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of the fort remaining but if you battle through the undergrowth you can find the two sets of stairs leading underground to the two ammo stores. From the ammo stores there is a short tunnel which leads to the gun emplacements overlooking the coast. Other than these tunnels there are a few other small buildings dotted around the site.
As the fort is reasonably pristine and not that well known I think it might be better to leave the location out. With a bit of research it is pretty easy to find anyway. As AbandonedIreland and several others have found, sometimes it’s better to leave out the locations of the more sensitive sites to discourage any vandalism.
The Phoenix Park magazine fort was built in 1735. The fort was originally controlled by the British for many years but control of the fort was handed to the Irish army and by 1939 its purpose was to house the Irish Army’s stocks of guns and ammunition.
The fort sits within the grounds of Phoenix Park at the top of a raised mound. A large moat entirely surrounds the building and slots that were used for gunfire surround the walls, this combined with the fact that there are pillboxes on each corner of the fort means this fort would have been very hard to attack back in the day.
The only access in and out of the fort was a bridge over the moat. Today, this has now been blocked off by 3 large gates. Due to the way the fort is built and the high gates that are now in place, access to this one is quite tricky, but once inside you are well rewarded for your effort.
Rossaveal Martello Tower is one of the many Martello Towers dotted around the Irish coast. These towers were built during the Napoleonic era by the British in order to defend Ireland from a coastal attack. Each tower had a raised entrance which made it difficult to access. Inside there were usually two floors with stairs leading to the roof. The roof of these towers usually held a rotatable cannon which could be moved 360 degrees in order to fire on any incoming ships.
Rossaveal Martello Tower is a bit of a rarity as it still contains the original British cannon and it’s platform on the roof.
In addition to the different forts scattering the island there were originally four Martello Towers also built on the island. Two of these still remain and can be easily visited. Cloughland Martello Tower which lies on the eastern side of the island is in a fairly ruinous state but Ardagh Martello Tower was restored as part of a tourism project and is in quite a good condition.
Ardagh Martello Tower
Cloughland Martello Tower
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.
Below is the 15ft deep dry moat which entirely surrounds the fort
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