James fort was built on the site of an earlier fortification.
Designed by Paul Ive and begun in 1601 after the Battle of Kinsale, it was finished in 1607. It is a pentagonal Fort with Spear shaped earthen Bastions at the corners. Inside a rectangular Bawn is a Stone Castle with two square towers. Underground tunnels link the fort to the Block House, a Hexagonal Fort on the water’s edge. In later years, James Fort and Charles Fort were used to scuttle enemy ships by strategically positioning underwater chains across the Harbour
James Fort is located across the bridge from Kinsale, at Castle Park. Go through the barrier for the Marina car park at the Dock Pub and follow the signs for James Fort. You can also walk across the beach, Platters & Dishes (named after the area where the local gentry used to picnic), to get to the hillside it is on and from then on you can explore to your heart’s content. There are plenty of buildings (ruins) to scramble around, and fine views of Charles Fort and the inner harbour. It’s a great place to watch the boats go by. It is in the process of being renovated, but for now it is completely free.
The ruins of Ringrone Castle stands like a sentinel now, guarding the River Bandon. This ancient De Courcey Castle dates from c.1223 There is a Ruined church and graveyard nearby with interesting grave stones. The Bullens family has the Skull & Cross Bones engraved on their tomb. Pirates? or warning?