Duncannon, Co Wexford

Duncannon is a small coastal village with a long sandy beach in County Wexford. It’s a popular holiday spot with several caravan parks overlooking the sea.

Duncannon Fort is a main feature of the town. It is a star shaped fort, protected on three sides by water, and a 30 foot dry moat on the land side. It was built in 1588 to defend against an expectant attack by the Spanish Armada that was preparing to sail from Spain. The attack never came, but since then, it has had a long and bloody history.

But for me, the fort brings back exciting memories. We were holidaying in Duncannon and I was around 10 years old. Accompanied by my cousin, we ventured out during a low tide and scaled the rocks below the fort’s walls. We managed to clamber in through an opening and found ourselves in the dungeons. At the time, the fort was manned by the army for training purposes. I’ll never forget the basement chambers – cold and dark, and smelling of the sea. Executions had occurred there and our shadows dancing along the bare stone walls only added to the eerie atmosphere.

Alas, we were captured after coming face to face with an officer in one of the tunnels. Our parents were called. However, I have no recollection of been scolded. What I do recall is me and my father getting a guided tour of the fort’s embattlements, and being allowed to ride in the turret of an armoured car!

Happy memories indeed!

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