Dunree Fort is situated near the mouth of Lough Swilly in an area of stunning natural beauty. The word Dunree or ‘Dun Fhraoigh’ in Irish, translates to ‘Fort of the Heather’ suggesting that this rocky promontory was always used as an important defensive location. Lough Swilly has been attacked by many invaders including the Norsemen, the Anglo-Normans and the Gallowglassses of Scotland. In 1798, Wolf Tone was intercepted aboard a French vessel near this location and soon after the British re-assessed the threat from the French and started building Martello fortifications along the entire Irish coastline. Dunree Fort comprises of a Martello Tower (which is now part of a museum accessed over a natural fissure) and WWI defense structures set into a hillside. Lough Swilly was of such strategic importance to the British that they moved their entire north Atlantic fleet here from Scapa Flow in Scotland for a period of time during the First World War. It was also one of only three ports retained by them until 1938 after the Irish Free State was established in 1921 (the other 2 being Berehavan and Cobh).
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