Charles' Fort, Kinsale

Map Reference: W654494 (1654, 0494)

Charles' Fort, Kinsale, in Forthill townland, was built about 1680 on the site of Ringcurran Castle. It was designed by William Robinson. However, because it was overlooked on the landward side, it was surrendered to the Williamite forces in 1690 after a siege of 13 days.

There is a fine 18th century gateway which replaced the original gateway which was destroyed in the 1690 siege. It is a massive artillery fort with five bastions. These are (clockwise from the gatehouse) Flagstaff Bastion, East or Cockpit Bastion, Charles' Bastion, Devil's Bastion and North Bastion. The walls of the bastions are at least 6m thick at the top.

Opposite the sally port near Devils Bastion is a gunpowder store. This a small rectangular room, with a double brick cavity wall, set within the stone wall. In the event of an explosion the blast would pulverise the inner brick wall and much of the force would be dissipated. The remaining force would then pulverise the outer brick wall. By the time the force reached the outer rigid stone wall it was so small that no damage would be caused. Inside the fort, to the right of the gate, are three octagonal brick-built structures. These were constructed to support water tanks. Further along on the right is a very fine two-storey building with a good doorway.

This was the barrack stores and originally the residence of the Commander. It is now an exhibition centre. The series of roofless buildings along the southerly wall were the married soldiers quarters. A strong, high wall divides the interior of the fort. This is a blast wall and the magazine beside it is a small rectangular building surrounded by a wall in which there are a number of brick-lined defensive loops.

The floor of this building was covered by wooden planks pinned down by wooden pegs. Any soldiers due to work in the building had first to removed metal buckles and such, and dress in linen suits. This was to avoid the possibility of sparks from static electricity. The Governor's residence is near the end of the blast wall. The hospital wards are along the east wall and the soldiers quarters form a large open rectangle near the east side.

Charles' Bastion has two very fine circular gunpits. At the angle of some of the wall are small brick turrets. These are called guerites and are sentry boxes which give a good field of view along the outside of the wall.

Outside the walls of the fort there is a deep stone-lined moat and a massive bank.

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