Thousands of people from all over Ireland visited Fort Camden, Crosshaven during September when the fort, officially named as Fort Meagher, was open to the public for the first time.
The partnership project, which is being spearheaded by Crosshaven Tourism on behalf of the local community association, is being undertaken by Fas workers with funding from Cork County Council and the active support of Rescue Camden, local businesses and other volunteers the local community
At a reception to mark the restoration of two of its barrack rooms, County Manager Martin Riordan congratulated everyone involved. 'This is all about action by a small group with lots of energy and commitment to their own locality. There's lot of talk about what could and should be done but right now we need more bodies like Crosshaven Community Association and Tourism'.
Mr Riordan paid tribute to Fas and praised the staff in the county council who put so much work into the project over many years, including former chief planning officer Brendan Kelleher. He concluded by saying that there had to date, been a tremendous return for a relatively small investment.
Congratulations were also extended by Cllr John A Collins who said it was a landmark day and the start of a bright new beginning for Fort Camden. The fact that on the day he visited during September, he heard so many non-Irish accents confirmed its exciting potential as a military heritage, tourism and arts attraction.
Paul Brierley, chairman of Crosshaven Tourism said the opening of the first two rooms to be restored was a day of celebration. He spoke of the tremendous voluntary ethos and goodwill and believed the project would be 'a template for the county'
He thanked the county manager 'for allowing us a sense of community ownership, his belief in our ability to deliver, his support thus far' and applauded him for 'a shared vision of realizing the tourism potential of Cork Harbour of which there can be no doubt Fort Camden and indeed Crosshaven will have a huge role to play'.
'We have opened the gates to what we feel will be the 'jewel in the crown' of Cork Harbour and Crosshaven, one of the finest remaining classic artillery forts in the world named after one of the most famous men in Ireland, Thomas Francis Meagher', said Paul who urged people to continue supporting the project and visit the website www.rescuecamdenm
Further works are ongoing and it is hoped to again re-open to the public Fort Camden on a temporary basis in March.
Pictured at the reception (from left) Cllr Paula Desmond, County Manager Martin Riordan, Cllr Deirdre Forde, Simon Coveney TD, Deputy Mayor of County Cork Cllr John A Collins and Cllr Seamus McGrath.