21 Forts in Ireland that you should visit - With photos & details

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21 Forts to explore in Ireland

A country in the north-western Europe. Ireland, or Republic of Ireland shares its only border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. It is surrounded by the ocean in all it's other sides. About 40% of the countries 5 million population lives in the greater city area of Dublin.

Athenry CastleGorteenacra, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland

This restored 13th-century fortification was originally built by Meiler de Bermingham and is located within the heritage town of Athenry. The imposing three-storey hall-keep survives from the mid-thirteenth century. It is solidly impressive from the outside, although the interior was simply built, containing only a hall at first-floor level and dark storerooms below.

Cahercommaun (Cathair Chomáin)Teeskagh, Co. Clare, Ireland

Cahercommaun is a triple stone ringfort in County Clare, Ireland. It was built on the edge of a cliff around 800 AD. 16,500 tons of stone have been used to build the inner wall alone. The excavation uncovered one of the most important Iron Age collections found in Ireland. From the collection, a set of sheep shears and a saddle quern are on loan to the Clare Museum from the Irish Antiquities Division of the National Museum of Ireland.

Cahergall Stone FortBallycarbery East, Co. Kerry, Ireland

The Cahergal Stone Fort is an impressive example of an Iron Age ring fort. A few of such forts can be found in Ireland.  The current structure has undergone some reconstruction and while the purist may say it is too “clean and pure” it is an impressive site. One of the iconic attraction in this area and attracts a lot of tourists here.

CahermacnaghtenCahermacnaghten, Co. Clare, Ireland

Cahermacnaghten is a ringfort south of Ballyvaughan in the Burren area, in County Clare, Ireland. It, or a nearby building, is the site of the famous O'Davoran law school. The fort is a National Monument.

Camden Fort MeagherCamden Road, Crosshaven, Co. Cork, Ireland

Camden Fort Meagher is a coastal defence fortification close to Crosshaven. Though originally constructed in the 16th century, the current structures of the 45 acre fort date to the 1860s.  It remained largely overgrown until 2010 when a group of local volunteers began restoration and development of the fort for heritage and tourism purposes.

Charles FortSummercove, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

Charles Fort is a massive star-shaped structure of the late seventeenth century, well preserved despite its history.  The fort is now operated as a heritage tourism site by the Heritage Ireland arm of the Office of Public Works. As one of the country’s largest military installations, Charles Fort has been part of some of the most momentous events of Irish history.

DoonconorCarrownlisheen, Co. Galway, Ireland

Dún Conor is a stone ringfort and National Monument located on Inishmaan, Ireland, measuring about 69 m N-S and 35 m E-W; although smaller than Dún Aengus, it has thicker walls, up to 6 m in places. The fort is believed to date back to the first or second millennium BC.

Dún DúchathairKilleany, Inis, Co. Galway, Ireland

Dún Dúchathair is a prehistoric fort located in front of the sea on Inishmore  in County Galway. , its still imposing remains make it one of the most famous places on the island and Its age is unknown. The fort consists of a terraced walls, reaching 6 metres high and 5 metres wide. On the inside are the ruins of various rooms, possibly from Clocháns or Beehive huts.  There is also evidence of a cheval de frise protecting the entrance.

Dún EochlaOghil, Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland

Dún Eochla is a superb stone ring fort located at the highest point on Inishmore in the Aran Islands. Consisting of two series of walls, which with the stone hut in the enclosure, were repaired in the late 19th Century. It lies on Inishmore, at the edge of a 100 metre high cliff. A popular tourist attraction, Dún Aonghasa is an important archaeological site.

Dunbeg FortKilvickadownig, Carhoo, Co. Kerry, Ireland

A majestic prehistoric Irish fort located on the Dingle Peninsula. This impressive and interesting fort will captivate lovers of prehistoric archaeological sites and will offer you a breathtaking view of the Dingle cliffs and the ocean. It is located on a rocky promontory just south of Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula, looking over Dingle Bay to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Duncannon FortDuncannon Fort, Duncannon, Co. Wexford, Ireland

This is an impressive presentation of a bastioned fortress perched on the side of the stunning Hook Peninsula, County Wexford, part of Ireland’s Ancient East. A fort was built on this site by Normans in the 12th century, and there may have been an earlier earthen fort built by Gaelic Irish. The present star fort was built in 1587–88 by Queen Elizabeth I to defend Waterford from possible invasion by the Spanish Armada.

Dungarvan CastleCastle St, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland

This is an Anglo-Norman fortification founded in 1185. It was built in a very strategic location at the mouth of the River Colligan. The castle consists of a polygonal shell keep with an enclosing curtain wall, a corner tower and a gate tower. The shell keep is the earliest structure, dating from the 12th century. Shell keeps are common in England, but rare in Ireland. Inside the curtain wall is a two storey military barracks, which dates from the first half of the 18th century.

Glenquin CastleGlenquin, Co. Limerick, Ireland

Glenquin Castle is a tower house and National Monument located in County Limerick, Ireland.This castle was a fortified dwelling, for the protection against raids and invaders, more correctly described as a Tower House. It is one of the finest tower houses to survive from the 16th century and is open to the public during the summer months.

James Fort James Fort Ave, Barrack Green, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

James Fort is an early 17th-century pentagonal bastion fort located on Castlepark peninsula in Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland. Situated downstream from Kinsale on the River Bandon, the fort was built to defend the harbour and seaborne approaches of the town. Following the construction of Charles Fort on the opposite side of the harbour in the late 17th century, James Fort became known as the "old fort" .

Knockdrum Stone FortKnockdrum, Co. Cork, Ireland

This is one of the largest and finest stone forts in Ireland and was probably built in the early centuries AD before Christianity came. Approximately 29 metres in diameter the fort has thick walls some 3 metres wide and standing almost 2 metres high. Access to the fort is through a narrow entrance on the north eastern side of the walls.  The site is owned by the Irish Government which has declared it a national monument.

Loher Stone FortLoher Fort Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry, Ireland, Loher, Co. Kerry, Ireland

The Loher Fort was probably built in the 9th century and served as a fortification of a farm yard. Behind the high walls both humans and animals found protection from attackers. Within the fort, the remnats of two buildings can be found – one of them with a circular, the other one with a square layout. In the interior are a large round house and a smaller rectangular house; archaeology has shown that these were preceded by wooden buildings. A souterrain was located in the circular house.

Millmount fortMillmount, Lagavooren, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland

Millmount is a large fortified complex situated on a great mound on the South bank of the River Boyne located in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. Today the complex houses the Millmount Museum which houses a wide variety of artifacts of local and national importance. The complex is Drogheda's most dominant feature, clearly visible from all parts of the town. The Martello tower is affectionately known as "The Cup and Saucer" by locals.

Mooghaun Hill FortMooghaun South, Co. Clare, Ireland

Mooghaun Bronze Age Hillfort, near Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare, was built at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age around 950 BC and is one of the biggest such forts in Ireland. The site is enclosed by woodland near Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare. There is a self guided trail up to the Hillfort which is identified as the largest in Ireland. Believed to be the largest hill fort in Ireland, it is one of the region's main tourist attractions.

Rathgall HillfortRath East, Coolkenno, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Rathgall is a multivallate hillfort, on the edge of a ridge with four concentric stone walls and extensive panoramic views. It is an imposing monument covering a total area of 7.5ha.  This was a site of quite exceptional importance in the centuries spanning the birth of Christ, an importance that was clearly pan-European. A number of gold items have been found at the site also, as well as a burial site linked with later use of the site.

Staigue Stone FortStaigue, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Staigue Fort is probably one of the best examples of an ancient ringfort in Kerry.   The fort is thought to have been built during the late Iron Age, probably somewhere between 300 and 400 AD, as a defensive stronghold for a local lord or king. The fort consists of a massive circular rampart surrounded by an external bank. The wall is up to 5.5m high and 4m thick, surrounding a circular area of 27.4m in diameter. It shows great skill and craftsmanship in the area of stone building.