Elizabeth Fort in Cork

Elizabeth Fort is located in Cork (county of Cork)

Address: Barracks Street, Cork

Position on map:

Phone: 021 4975947
E-mail: heritage@corkcity.ie

Elizabeth Fort is an early 17th century star-shaped fort off Barrack Street. Used as an army base for the protection of the city it was constructed on a limestone outcrop overlooking the medieval walled city in 1601 by Sir George Carew, the then president of Munster during the reign of Elizabeth 1. Following the death of Elizabeth in 1603, the fort was demolished by the citizens of Cork, however, when the town was re-taken, they were compelled to rebuild it at their own expense. It was replaced in 1624 by a stronger fort and it is reputed that improvements were also made by Cromwell in 1649. In1690 the fort was besieged, along with the city, by Williamite forces. After a few days, the city walls were breached and the fort was surrendered. A cannonball thought to have been fired from the Fort at the old tower of St. Fin Barre’s was found during the 19th century rebuilding by Burges and can be seen hanging in the new Cathedral. This effectively saw the end of Elizabeth Fort as a defensive fortification. In 1719 a new military barracks was built within the fort, this continued in use until 1806, when a new military barracks was built on the north side of the city. In the following years, the fort was used as a female prison for convicts awaiting transportation and as a station for the Cork City Artillery Militia and then during the Irish War of Independence as a base for the ‘Black and Tans’. In August 1922 during the civil war the barrack buildings were destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the present form. The buildings within the fort served as a Garda station until recently.The site is highly significant in relation to the military and social history of Cork and boasts an exceptional view of the city from the ramparts and from the timber viewing gallery along the north side of the courtyard. Elizabeth Fort is now in the possession of Cork City Council, who plan to develop this valuable asset as a major public attraction within the city.


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