Dunree Fort, Dunree, County Donegal

Dunree Fort is strategically situated near the mouth of Lough Swilly in an area of stunning natural beauty. It has been attacked many times over the years by nearly everyone trying to get a foothold in Ireland including the Vikings, the Normans, the Gallowglassses, the English, the Germans and the French. In 1798 Wolf Tone was intercepted by the English navy on a French vessel near this location and this incident sparked the British to start building Martello fortifications along the entire Irish and English coastlines. The word ‘Dunree’ in Irish translates to ‘Dun Fhraoigh’ which means ‘The Fort of the Heather’ suggesting that this rocky promontory was always an important defensive location. During WW1, the British moved their entire north Atlantic fleet into Lough Swilly from Scapa Flow in Scotland as it was deemed a strategic and safe location. It was also one of only three ports in Ireland retained by the British until 1938 after the Irish Free State was established in 1921 (the other two being Berehaven and Cobh). The fort is now a military museum which can be accessed by a small bridge over the natural fissure in the rocks.