Saturday 24 March 2007

Ammunition fort to reopen as museum

A HISTORIC fort which was used by the British and Irish armies to store ammunition is to be transformed into a public museum.
The magazine fort in the Phoenix Park dates back to 1734 but is currently in a dilapidated state and closed off to the public.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed it was in discussions with Dublin City Council about turning it into a museum.
"But before we go in to renovate it and restore it, we want to be able to identify a sustainable function and use for it," a spokesman said.
Under the plans, a new bridge would be built to link the restored magazine fort to the War Memorial Gardens across the River Liffey. A shuttle bus service would be set up so visitors could easily get to other attractions in the area, such as Kilmainham Jail and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The fort was the main ammunition depot for the British army and after independence it performed a similar function for the Irish army.
However, in 1939 the IRA mounted its 'Christmas raid' and stole one million rounds of ammunition using 13 trucks. Most of the ammunition was recovered by the state within a month. But the magazine fort was abandoned soon afterwards.
Michael Brennan
© Irish Independent

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