CAMDEN Fort Meagher is to become a second ‘jewel in the crown’ of Cork Harbour by improving access to the historic Crosshaven attraction.
Cork County Council officials want the historic Fort to match the success of Spike Island and have been developing a master plan for the last number of months,
More than 12,000 people visited the Fort last year but the local authority is determined to grow these numbers further in the years ahead.
Applications for funding have been made under the Urban Development Fund (UDF) for improvements to Cork Harbour including access upgrades from Cobh to Spike Island; Haulbowline to Spike Island pedestrian and cycle access; the regeneration of Passage West boatyard along with €375,000 for works at Camden.
Councillor Marcia D’Alton (IND) said there is massive potential for linking Spike Island, in particular, with Camden Fort Meagher and tying it into Cobh and the other heritage around the harbour but concerns remain about the cost of installing a new pontoon at the fort.
“A pontoon was bought to improve access to Camden Fort and the link between that pontoon and water level and the fort itself takes significant investment and there was a thought the pontoon might be relocated and placed elsewhere in the county.
“It’s a concern that because of the costs in creating this link between the fort and the water are significant it might be put on the long finger. It could be a world-class network of assets. It’s something that could bring in tourists from all over the world.”
Seamus McGrath (FF) added: “e have a huge cluster of attractions in the harbour and we certainly need to work on promoting them as a cluster and make them work in tandem.”
County Hall deputy chief executive Declan Daly said the local authority has a “master plan” to promote Camden Fort Meagher as part of the harbour’s tourist offering.
“The UDF application included provision for Cork Harbour and didn’t specifically mention Camden. Part of the difficulty is that the funding which would be required for access is quite significant. The pier on the front is in very poor condition and is a zig-zag up to the fort itself. The pontoon was the first step but unfortunately, we were unable to put it in place in the absence of shore site facilities to allow it to be used properly.
“We’d all love to see Camden Fort join Spike as a jewel in the crown of tourism for Cork Harbour and we have a master plan. It is an important asset for us,” he added.
The fort was built in the 16th century and was used as a naval base during World War I. It was handed over to Irish authorities and was turned into a tourist attraction in 2014.