Camden Underground

Doing a little bit of an end of year clearout of the Lightroom catalog, I found these had been sitting there for quite some time. I’m attempting to make a point of revisiting Fort Camden (which you’ve already seen plenty of in the past on this blog) every second or third time we travel to Cork for the weekend. This occasion was even more special as some new sections of the underground tunnels had been cleared out, restored to the point where they are safe to be in and then opened to the public.

  Camden

The newly opened section includes a carefully restored spiral staircase which leads you back up to ground level. We got the full story about the restoration of the stairs including the vandalism that met the volunteers when they first found it and even the political battle that had to take place to get the banister painted the colour it is now. In many ways, speaking with the volunteers and hearing their passion for the fort and the truly amazing work they’re doing has taken over from the initial excitement I felt at just being in the fort and being able to access these places to take photos. There is speculation that this newly opened section of underground represents just a small percentage of what is left to be explored and restored in the future.

Roll on the 2013 season and even more new discoveries!

Stairs

From Crosshaven with Love

Julie heard of a ‘Vintage Market’ taking place last Sunday just outside Dublin at the ‘village of Lyons’ near Celbridge. Turns out the place is a wonderful spot, even if the vintage market turned out to be more of an antique fair. However, she did manage to pick up a couple of pieces of interest and while thumbing through some old posters and postcards, I found the below.

It’s a postcard from Crosshaven, Co. Cork although I believe it’s been mislabeled. If I recall correctly, Fort Carlisle is across the mouth of the harbour, accessed via Whitegate. The scene pictured on the postcard is of the Fort Camden, which you might recall (as I’ve posted about it a couple of times; Here and here.) was reopened not too long ago thanks to the amazing effort of a group of volunteers.

Better still, on flipping the postcard over I found it was actually sent to someone. I love old photographs, postcards, posters, etc but I always find something lacking when I turn an old post card over to find it was never actually used. Also note the Crosshaven postmark, 4th August 1927. This would have been before the fort was turned over to the Irish government and it’s name changed to Fort Meagher in July 1938.

Camden Again

I will eventually round up the photos from the Cork photowalk a couple of weeks ago. This is the last of them, another visit to Camden with the rest of the gang this time. It’s pretty much the same up there, although with the notable exception of several new rooms now being open to the public. Most of these rooms were hosting an art exhibition but there were one or two that were bare, as pictured above.

Although not very visible in the shot, the majority of the floor space in this room was converted into a shallow pool with several tiny boats doing laps. Yes, I thought the reflection was more interesting than the boats and chose to compose and expose accordingly.

Other than that, Fort Camden is as it was from our last visit so there’s no major updates. They did open one of the piers at the end of the impossibly long (and quite steep) staircase though and it is nice to see the place further developing. We were all treated to sunshine again for our morning at the fort, rounding off the Cork photowalk nicely. When those snowy winter months roll in I’ll have to start putting together some thoughts for Cork Photowalk 2012. Thanks to all that attended, great to see some new faces and of course equally great to see all the regulars. Hope you all enjoyed the day (and a half) out.

The full set from the photowalk is available on Pix.ie and Flickr

Fort Camden

I’m not going to give a long, complicated spiel about the history of Fort Camden, you can read it for yourself over on the Rescue Camden website. My own history with Camden started many years ago being brought to Crosshaven by my parents, walking up point road to that formidable hill only to find the Goliath fort on the top of the hill. I can’t count how many times I’d stood on the grass bank outside the fort, straining to see inside some of the broken windows at the front of the building or crossing the rickety bridge (before it was sealed off) to peek through the bars of the white main gate.

It was one of the top things I always wanted to do, to get inside the fort and have a rummage around. I always imagined there were vast networks of tunnels, ammunition stores, underground rooms and other things that would amaze and delight my childhood self. I did finally get in there, albeit briefly, in July 2006 when the front gate was unlocked for some as yet unknown reason. The results of that short trip went up on Flickr. It didn’t disappoint and although much of it was overgrown, dangerous and some flooding made parts inaccessible, I was delighted to finally get in there. It still left me rather unsatisfied however, too many locked doors and welded shut gates left too many questions unanswered. I was always wondering what was inside that door or down that tunnel. Never having been much of a one for scaling large walls or breaking & entering, I had to leave with those questions remaining in my head.

It was always my hope that some group would finally take the initiative (given the required funding of course) and re-open the fort. So some years later, it finally happened. The Rescue Camden group have done simply amazing work in restoring parts of the fort back to a state whereby it’s safe and enjoyable for visitors. The  shot on the right is the beginning of a long downhill tunnel that leads from the main complex down to a lower platform that served two piers. Much of the fort remains to be worked on, when walking around I noticed that several areas are marked for restoration in 2012.

The work that has already been completed is a credit to the group of volunteers and the friendliness and evident passion for the project shown by the people there when we visited on Saturday is fantastic to see after so many years of wishing for something like this to happen.

What this all does mean thankfully is that I can now bring a photowalk group to see the fort, something which I’m planning for Saturday 13th August. If you’re interested, details are over on Photowalk.ie

The rest of this set of photos from the visit on Saturday are on Flickr.