Charlesfort in Kinsale open for free until the end of the year

25 July 2020
By Elaine Murphy

Admission to Charlesfort (Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland) will be free until the end of the year to help local tourism in Cork, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Lombard said the move comes as part of the Government’s July Stimulus Plan in an effort to encourage domestic tourists to come to Cork and support the tourism economy.

Senator Lombard said: “I am delighted to confirm this measure will take effect from Monday, 27th July and will remain in force until the end of the year.

“My Fine Gael colleague, Minister of State with responsibility for Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan, has brought this in to support to the domestic Irish tourism economy and to provide a greater appeal to Irish people to stay at home and take staycations and short breaks within Ireland particularly over the next six months.

“Visitor sites in the care of the OPW both here in Cork and all around the country are highly prized by Irish people”

“This new initiative as part of the Government’s July Stimulus will appeal to people who are looking for a different holiday experience that has something for everyone.”

Factbox: What is Charlesfort? This star-shaped military fortress was constructed between 1677 and 1682, during the reign of King Charles II, to protect the town and harbour of Kinsale in County Cork. William Robinson, who was also architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham Dublin, and Superintendent of Fortifications is credited with designing the fort. As one of the largest military forts in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. These include the Williamite War in 1690 and the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Charles Fort remained garrisoned by the British army until 1922.
Senator Tim Lombard began his political career as a Cork County Cllr and is now a Senator.

Senator Lombard continued: “The OPW manages 70 visitor sites around the country including some of the most iconic historic locations like the Rock of Cashel, Dún Aonghasa and Castletown House.

“These sites play a very significant part of the cultural and heritage tourism offering and last year attracted a total of over 9.3m visitors, many of them foreign tourists.

“Hopefully, Cork can capitalise on our wonderful local attraction by making it more accessible for those on a budget who are looking for an enjoyable way to spend their 2020 holidays.

“The economy has suffered a huge shock because of Covid-19 and this is particularly the case in the Tourism sector where so many people depend on a strong visitor economy to provide them with jobs.

“Government have identified the need to act quickly and decisively in support of the tourism sector and the OPW heritage sites will play a part in that by making it attractive cost-wise for individuals and families to visit and for Tour Operators who wish to bring organised groups.”

Minister O’Donovan said: “As a society, we have all endured a huge amount in the past few months and I’m hoping with this measure to remind people of what’s on their doorstep here in Ireland and encourage them to help Ireland’s tourism industry to make it through 2020 and come back with a real bang in 2021.

“Hopefully people will be able to discover something new or maybe they’ll be able to relive a childhood experience with their own families but I’d encourage everyone to get out there and see what Ireland has to offer.”


  • A small number of the busiest sites will not be offered with free admission as there are concerns that they might be overwhelmed with large numbers of visitors and create a significant Covid-19 risk.
  • Like all other public venues, OPW’s heritage sites have been closed to the public since March but, with the progressive reopening of the economy announced in recent weeks by Government, sites are beginning to open their doors again.
  • Though Covid-19 restrictions will of course be in place with limits on numbers and access to certain closed and confined spaces not available, OPW still hopes to offer visitors an enjoyable and memorable experience in some of the most important historic buildings and sites in Ireland with admission charges lifted for the remainder of the year.

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