The day started off a little dull, but brightened up as the hours ticked by. Weather like that is quite common in Ireland this time of year. Beautiful bright sunny mornings can turn a little dull and dreary, or vice versa, but once it’s dry, it’s great to be out and about anywhere on Ireland’s southern coastline.
The fort just recently opened (in the summer of 2013 from what I recall), and it’s evident that a huge amount of work and restoration has gone into the attraction. This work was done almost entirely by volunteers! At various points throughout the grounds there are ‘before and after’ pictures showing the past state of the site. It’s remarkable how well it looks now, and how much of the fort is accessible. Thanks volunteers!
Some of the highlights from my visit to Fort Camden
I couldn’t say there was anything about the fort that I didn’t like, but there were some things that really stood out that I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s a quick list of those:
1. We were lucky enough to go to Fort Camden on a day when there was a battle re-enactment. Although short and sweet, it was well done, the props were great and the kids loved it! Check out my video of the re-enactment below.
2. The volunteer staff we talked to were all super friendly, very helpful and they really knew a lot about the history of the fort. They take turns giving small impromptu tours (as people show up it seems), and I could not praise them highly enough.
3. The underground tunnels were a huge hit with the kids! You go down underneath the surface into the Magazine room and come out the other side via a spiral staircase. Very cool! Be sure to catch (or ask for) a tour of this area. It is very interesting.
4. The coastal views! Even though the day started out a little dull, it cleared up nicely. The view out to Roches Point, and across to Spike Island and over to Cobh were really special. I just wish I had a better camera to show you how nice it is from that vantage point. If you want to get the best view of the surrounding area my advice is head up to what they call the ‘Titanic View’ area or go inside the tea room, and out on to the patio there. Stunning!
5. September 11th is just around the corner, so it was a nice, although somber surprise, to stumble upon the resident 9/11 photographic memorial in one of the fort’s rooms (Ground Zero 360 – A Photographic Retrospective). With my strong American ties, I was very interested in this part of the experience, and spent quite a bit of time reading and looking at the various pieces of memorabilia on display. You can support the Ground Zero 360 organization by buying the photo book either here on their website or here on Amazon.com.
6. What else? Oh, the various bits and pieces of memorabilia – guns, swords, heavy artilery equipment etc. There’s plenty of it there, so explore it all. I have some more photos of those here.
One of the downsides of Camden Fort Meagher (that’s its current name, after Thomas Francis Meagher, a 19th century Irish nationalist and leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848) is that it has limited opening hours. Confirm by calling, or at the link above, but I think it’s only open at weekends and not all year round.
If you’re looking for a history of the fort check out the official website, or the Wikipedia page. Just some quick dates for you though: The fort was originally built in the 16th century, however the current structures date to the 1860’s.
My photos probably don’t do this very unique attraction much justice, so if you get a chance, I hope you go see it for yourself. I put loads more photos of Camden Fort Meagher on another page to allow this one to load quicker. If you like you can see those at that link. Enjoy!