Lonely Planet Writer

Historic Magazine Fort building opens for public tours in Dublin's Phoenix Park

A derelict bastion fort and magazine building that played a role in the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland has opened to the public for free tours for the first time in 28 years. The Magazine Fort in Dublin was subject to an unsuccessful raid during the armed insurrection launched by Irish republicans in their quest to end British rule and establish an independent Irish Republic.

Views from inside the grounds of the Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park. Phoenix Park
Views from inside the grounds of the Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park. Phoenix Park

It was built in 1734 and was expanded in the 19th Century to accommodate military families, while a bakery shed was added in the 20th Century to feed the soldiers. It is located within the Phoenix Park, one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It was occupied by British forces until 1922, and during the rebellion, the rebels wanted to blow it up to mark the start of the Rising but were unsuccessful.

A photo posted by Phoenix Park (@thephoenixpark) on Jul 31, 2016 at 4:26am PDT

When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was implemented, the building was turned over to the Irish Defence Forces, who continued to operate it as an ammunition store until the late 1980s. Now owned by the Office of Public Works, who have begun a major restoration project, the historic building is being opened to the public on a limited basis because this is the centenary of the Rising.

The OPW are delighted to announce that free guided tours of the Magazine Fort will commence on Sundays and Fridays from 31st July 2016 at 10am, 12pm and 2.30pm. Tours commence at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on a first come, first served basis with a shuttle bus to the Fort. Visitors will have access to a number of areas within the Fort including one of the magazines and two viewing platforms. Watch the conservation work as it happens, see the archaeologist unearth the 18th century drainage networks or the raised oak floors with timber dowels in the Magazine. Health and Safety induction will be conducted prior to the commencement of the tour, as conservation works are on-going within the Fort. Ground conditions are uneven so sturdy footwear is advised and suitable outdoor clothing should be worn. For more information please contact the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. Telephone: 01 677 0095 Email: phoenixparkvisitorcentre@opw.ie

A photo posted by Phoenix Park (@thephoenixpark) on Jul 30, 2016 at 1:59am PDT

Visitors who embark on the tour can walk around the inside of the fort and along parts of the bastion walls that have been stabilised, as well as seeing the ongoing conservation work that is being carried out. There’s a wheelchair accessible ramp to an elevated platform to allow people to take in the views overlooking the War Memorial Gardens across the River Liffey. Tickets are free and are available at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, and tours will take place on Sundays and Fridays until the end of October.