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 Castles of Ireland - Elizabeth Fort

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Cork, County Cork, Ireland

Elizabeth Fort is built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city of Cork. It is located on Barrack Street in the heart of the city.

Elizabeth Fort is star-shaped stone fort on an earthern bank. All that remains today is the outer wall of the fort, the interior having been burned down during the Civil War. Access to the fort is from the east side from Fort St. This entrance has an arched opening surrounding by square limestone stones. The limestone ramparts and corner bastions of the east wall remain in intact from the original construction in the early 17th century. The fort offers exceptional views of Cork city from the ramparts and from the timber viewing gallery along the northern side of the courtyard.

Elizabeth Fort used to be home to An Garda Siochana (police) station. During the summer months, the fort hosts various Irish craft and food markets, and also historical re-enactments.

During the winter months the fort houses Cork City's first ice skating rink protected from the elements. The ice rink hosts the 7UP Christmas On Ice experience. A range of winter ice skating events are catered for including birthdays on ice, corporate events, silent discos, and other fun activities on the ice. The venue has a cafe serving hot drinks and snacks. Visitors can also enjoy the food at the historic Gateway Bar.

An Garda Siochana vacated the Fort in 2013 and it is now solely a tourism site, open 10am - 5pm Tuesday - Sunday. Plans are in place to transform the old Garda Barracks in the interior into an interpretive centre and museum with visitor facilities and amenities. The entrance is on Barrack Street.

Elizabeth Fort was built in 1601 during the reign of Elizabeth I, by Sir George Carew, the president of Munster at the time. The fort was built as an army base to protect the city, but it was demolished by the people of Cork in 1603 when James 1 came to the throne to prevent it being used against them. The people were subsequently forced by Lord Mountjoy to rebuilt it with an even stronger structure, which was completed in 1624. It was modified again by Oliver Cromwell's men in1649. Williamite forces captured the castle in 1690 when they besieged the city.

In more recent times, the fort has been used for a variety of purposes. In 1835 it was a female prison, and later became used as a military base by British forces and the Black & Tans after World War 1. During the Irish Civil War in 1922, the barracks was destroyed by fire leaving the internal buildings burnt out. Until 2013, it was in use as a police station and is administered by the Office of Public Works who have undertaken restoration work.

Other Castles in the Area
  Ballea Castle, County Cork
  Ballintotis Castle, County Cork
  Ballyhooly Castle, County Cork
  Blarney Castle, County Cork
  Carrigadrohid Castle, County Cork
  Carrignamuck Castle, County Cork
  Castle Barrett, County Cork
  Castle Lyons, County Cork
  Charles Fort, County Cork
  Conna Castle, County Cork
  Desmond Castle, County Cork
  Dromaneen Castle, County Cork
  Kilcrea Castle, County Cork
  Kilgobbin Castle, County Cork
  Mallow Castle, County Cork
  Mountlong Castle, County Cork
  Ringrone Castle, County Cork

Ringrone Castle
Elizabeth Fort

Photograph by John M. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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