Fort Dunree Military Museum – Perched on a headland overlooking Lough Swilly, Fort Dunree is a military museum that incorporates a Napoleonic Martello tower into more recent World War I defenses. The museum complex features a wide range of exhibitions, an audiovisual center, and a cafe housed in a restored forge. Even if you have no interest in military history, it’s worth a trip for the extraordinary views.
Dunree Fort is located on the west coast of the Inishowen Peninsula, facing across Lough Swilly towards Knockalla Mountain on the Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal.
The Irish name for Fort Dunree is Dun Fhraoigh which translates as “Fort of the Heather”. This suggests that this cliff top setting has been an important defensive site down through history.The present day fort is located on a rocky promontory accessed over a natural fissure. The fort was remodeled in 1895 to have 2 x 4.7 inch (119 mm) QF guns below, and later 12 pounder (5 kg) QF and 2 x 6 inch (152 mm) guns in a battery above. The top of a hill overlooking the site was walled in to form a redoubt.
Because of its strategic importance protecting the entrance to the deep waters of Lough Swilly, control of Dunree was retained by Britain after independence was only granted to the Irish Republic in 1936
The Fort Dunree Military Museum was opened to the public in 1986 Using the latest audio visual and interactive technology the rich history and present role of Fort Dunree is fully explained and recreated in vibrant and colourful displays. The visitor will gain an insight into life at Fort Dunree over the years and will appreciate its vital role in coastal defense and neutrality protection. A range of restored coastal artillery is also on display
The underground bunkers also house a collection of artifacts that give meaning and insight into the day to day operation of the Fort.
Wildlife and Walks
In its spectacular coastal location Fort Dunree is rich in wildlife, some of it unique to the area. This is detailed in a beautiful wildlife exhibition in the museum.
The natural landscape around Fort Dunree is , without doubt, one of the most scenic parts of the Inishowen Peninsula. A series of signposted footpaths allow the visitor to explore at their own pace. Detailed information boards, shelters, picnic tables and benches help to create a memorable experience whether you are a first time or regular visitor.
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