Forts and Jails

On any island, in particular when that island is not ruled by its native people, defense is of central importance. So all around around the Irish coastline and at important river crossings there are impressive forts usually with wide views over the surrounding countryside. Some of the places listed here were primarily defensive, some were just jails, others were essentially fortified towns or fort-like family enclosures designed to keep their inhabitants safe in a hostile local environment.

Rock of Dunamase

Dunamase Castle, built on a high limestone outcrop overlooking a flat plain, has been a ruin for almost 700 years, but is still worth seeing.

Charles Fort & James Fort

Charles Fort is a massive structure, with walls up to 6m thick and five defensive bastions around its perimeter.

Desmond Castle

Built around 1500, and a typical urban tower house of that time, Desmond Castle has had a varied, if not always illustrious, serving variously as a …

Duncannon Fort

Duncannon Fort in Wexford is a star shaped fort which has had an important role in defending Waterford Port for more than 800 years.

Kilmainham Jail

Kilmainham Gaol (or Kilmainham Jail) has a central role in Irish political and social history and was the place of execution of leaders of many Irish rebellions.

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