A Short History of Fort Meagher
Fort Meagher was originally constructed by the British Military along with other coastal defences in the Cork Harbour area during the Napoleonic Wars. During the British rule the fort bore the name Fort Camden - after the second Early of Camden, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1795. It occupies a 60 acre site 200 feet above sea level.
Fort Meagher is situated on the west side of the entrance to Cork Harbour. On the opposite side of the entrance lies Fort Davis (Fort Carlisle) which is still used by the Irish Army.
Between 1850 and 1865 the fort served as a convict prison. It was returned to military use being extended and extended present size during the period 1875 to 1880 using both contract and convict labour from the nearby Spike Island convict prison. During this extension 30 additional guns were installed
A narrow gauge railway was installed to handle torpedoes in the 1890s, remains of the tracks are visible down on the quay. There is a tunnel engineered to house a torpedo system invented by Louis Philip Brennan on the site as well as other extensive underground tunnels and a large underground magazine
Along with other military bases in the Cork Harbour area the British garrison remained 1938. However with war clouds looming in Europe and the presence of the British military threatening Irish neutrality the British withdrew on July 11, 1938 from Cork Harbour, along with the other "Treaty Ports", and they were handed over to the then Irish Free State Army.
The Irish Army renamed the fort after Thomas Francis Meagher. Meagher was born in the City of Waterford, Ireland, in 1823. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, England and played a key part in the Young Ireland Rebellion in 1848. After the rebellion he was sentenced to transportation to a penal colony in Tasmania from where he escaped to the United States of America.
He fought on the Union side in the American Civil War rising to the rank of Brigadier General, following the war he became Governor of Montana and died in a drowning "accident" in 1867. [Full biography on Wikipedia]
Fort Meagher was occupied by the army during "The Emergency" as WWII is often referred to in Ireland. Following the war it was used by the Irish Naval Service.
In 1989 the fort was sold to Cork County Council who according to various web sources have a long term plan to develop a Military Heritage Centre and tourist accommodation, water sport facilities and other attractions on the site. However, as yet 17 years on nothing appears to have happened.