Cork Harbour Fortifications
Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural deep water ports in the world. As such to the Royal Navy, as part of the occupying British Forces, it was considered to be of vital strategic importance in protecting their Atlantic fleet.
To protect the harbour, four fortifications were built.
- Fort Camden - Crosshaven
- Fort Templebreedy - Crosshaven
- Fort Westmoreland - Spike Island
- Fort Carlisle - Whitegate.
In addition to the four fortifications, there was also a naval base established on Haulbowline Island which is the current base of operations for the Irish Naval Service.
In 1938 the Treaty Ports (including Lough Swilly in Donegal and Bere Island, West Cork) were handed over to the Irish Government. The Irish Government renamed the forts in memory of those who fought for Irish independence. Three of the Cork Harbour forts were renamed and still to this day it is common to hear of the forts being referred to by their British and Irish names. The three forts that were renamed were:
- Fort Camden - Fort Meagher - Named for Thomas Francis Meagher
- Fort Westmoreland - Fort Mitchel - Named for John Mitchel
- Fort Carlisle - Fort Davis - Named for Thomas Davis.
Templebreedy was always known as just Templebreedy.
As of 2016 Fort Davis remains in military ownership and is not open to the public. Forts Camden and Fort Westmoreland are open to the public on a seasonal basis. Fort Templebreedy no longer exists having been built upon by a pitch and putt course. However it is possible to see some of the abandoned gun emplacements.