PLANS are being drawn up to create a tourist attraction out of a fort built in Cork harbour in the late 1700s.
Cork County Council officials are drawing up plans for the future of Fort Camden, near Crosshaven. County manager Martin Riordan had said he is prepared to put a significant amount of local authority money into the restoration project, although he is hoping that the state will also contribute.
Fort Camden was built by the British in 1775, coinciding with the start of the American War of Independence.
It was remodelled during the Napoleonic period and used as a prison from 1850-65. It was again remodelled as a fort from 1862 to 1874. When it was taken over by the Irish in 1938 it was renamed Fort Meagher.
News of the council’s interest in the project came to light when Councillor John A Collins asked the county manager what plans he had for the facility.
Mr Riordan admitted that keeping the site safe and secure was costing the council a considerable amount of money and he would rather see something positive done with it.
Mr Collins maintained some of the land should be sold off for housing and some handed over to local sports clubs.
Cllr Tim Lombard wondered if some of the land could be zoned for holiday homes, but didn’t think it was feasible to sell a large chunk to developers because of the present slump in the housing market.
“I’m very concerned it has been lying idle for an inordinate amount of time. I’m not satisfied it is getting as much attention as it deserves,” Cllr Paula Desmond said.
The county manager said the fort “was of major historical significance” and he wanted to get funding to do it up.
Mr Riordan asked councillors to be patient while he tried to get a number of Government departments onboard: “I’d prefer to try and link it with the redevelopment of Spike Island and say there is a story to be told in the harbour.”
He said the council was putting together a plan and he would shortly be bringing it to the attention of councillors.