Last week we brought you a list of Ireland’s most haunted destinations. One such destination was Charles Fort in Kinsale, Co Cork. The fort is said to be haunted by the white lady, so where better for me and Ali to visit on all hallows eve than this amazing site of Irish history.
Charles Fort is situated just outside the lovely village of Summercove, around 3km from the town of Kinsale in County Cork. Its open all year round and the entrance fee for adults is only €4 and €2 for children.
Myself and Ali followed the Sat Nav out of Cork city to take the right road, and it brought us through Summercove, which is a really pretty little village along the coast. At the top of the hill then outside the village you will find Charles Fort. There is plenty of parking on the roadside just in front of the main entrance. We made our way over the wooden foot bridge and through the main gateway into the main grounds of the fort. To the right was the ticket office and a lovely girl there told us where all the main attractions were and where to keep an eye out for the white lady!
The fort itself was built way back in the 1600’s as a stone fortification to protect Kinsale Harbour from attack. Built by the English, it was attacked many times but it was constantly repaired and improved. It was used by the English army up until 1921, when it was handed back then to the Irish Free State. Sadly most of the buildings were destroyed during the civil war but it was taken into state care in 1973. It has been extensively refurbished since then and we couldn’t wait to see it all.
We made our way down first to the barrack stores, or the commanding officers house. There is a WW1 exhibition here and also some video exhibitions of the history of the fort and Kinsale. The exhibition runs over the ground floor and the 1st floor. Next door to this was the fire engine house where they have an old hand pulled fire engine. I don’t think it would put out many fires today! From here we climbed the steps to the Seaward Bastion- the best place for views back over Kinsale. The day was fairly misty but you could still see straight into Kinsale Harbour and over accross the bay to James Fort. We had to come back down the steps again to make out way over to the nearest Bastion which is where the little lighthouse is situated. Me and Ali presumed (we could have been completely wrong) that this is where the young bride (The white lady) found her new husband dead and where she jumped to her death. There are great views over the Atlantic here also, even if it was tinged with sadness and a constant fear of something appearing in front of you!
From here we made our way back down to explore the magazine building, which was holding an exhibition for Halloween for kids. They were telling ghost stories which we were quite disappointed we had missed. The married soldiers quarters were opposite this then- they didn’t look very cosy at all to be fair.
The girl at reception had told us that the White Lady has been spotted before around the Governors house so this is where we headed for next. It is quite creepy as its just a shell of the building that’s left, but the fireplaces are still there and a lot of the window frames are intact. You walk in through the basement area where the servants quarters may have been and then you can look straight up to the other floors. I was getting quite creeped out at this stage so we didn’t stay long. From the governors house all the way over to the other side of the fort is the Parade Ground. A large expanse of grass where the soldiers were put to the test no doubt. Looking over the parade ground are the soldiers quarters to one side and the Officers quarters. The officers quarters were a lot more spacious obviously. You can walk up a stone staircase in the middle of the officers quarters to another green area. More soldiers quarters are situated here and you can walk in around these or just take a rest on the grass and appreciate the view looking out over the Atlantic. It felt like we were sitting in an abandoned village ,which of course it is really. This place used to be a hive of activity at one time.
The hospital and the cook house are situated to the side of these soldiers quarters so we had a wander over there to have a look at these also. Our Galavant wasn’t complete without a visit to the tea rooms that are situated right inside the entrance. We got a lovely big pot of tea (complete with tea cosy!) and a cake and took a seat on one of their outside tables. They even had lovely big blankets for us in case we got chilly. We had spent around an hour and a half exploring around the fort and it was a really enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Kids would love this too as there is loads of places to play hide and go seek! The history of the fort is quite powerful too and is a must visit for any history buffs or anyone just wanting to learn more about our history. Alas we didn’t get to meet the white lady (thank god!) but there’s always next time!
I have attached a few links below with information on Charles Fort if you decide to visit. As always- Happy Galavanting! xx