A historic coastal artillery fort in Cork Harbour is set to reopen to the public later in April following the completion of extensive renovation works. 

Camden Fort Meagher, one of the finest examples of a coastal artillery fort in the world, was originally constructed in the 1600s and played a key role in the defense of Ireland and the west coast of England and Wales for almost 400 years. 

The current artillery structure was built in 1865 and housed around 500 members of the British Armed Forces and over 30 officers during the First World War. 

The fort, which remained in possession of the British Armed Forces following Irish independence in 1922, passed into the possession of the Irish Defence Forces in 1938 before being handed over to Cork County Council in 1989. 

The current structure features a labyrinth of underground tunnels and stores, with roughly 65% of the structure located underground. 

Camden Fort Meagher has recently undergone extensive remedial works costing around €480,000, with roughly €160,000 provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage. 

The remedial work included excavations, waterproofing, and backfilling of the barrel-vaulted roofs of the casemate block. RTÉ News reports that the block houses many of the fort's exhibitions. 

The redevelopment of the fort is central to Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland's visitor attraction plans for Cork Harbour. 

Camden Fort Meagher is set to reopen on April 27, which has been welcomed by volunteers who launched a Rescue Camden campaign in 2010. 

IrishCentral History

Love Irish history? Share your favorite stories with other history buffs in the IrishCentral History Facebook group.

Cork County Council has made a commitment to hiring 10 seasonal guides at the fort and will also appoint a contractor to run a café at the fort. 

Michael Lynch, Cork County Council Divisional Manager for South Cork, said the council has "learned a lot" from the recent redevelopment of Cork's Spike Island prison. 

"We have learnt a lot from Spike Island on how to own and operate an international tourist destination and we would be very confident that people will enjoy it when they come to visit," Lynch told RTÉ News. 

"We are very conscious that this (fort) is (currently) for history buffs. We want to make it universally accessible to all ages, and even just to be able to come up here and have a walk around with your kids, it is a beautiful place." 

Cork County Council has announced plans to make the fort universally accessible to people of all ages and interests at an estimated cost of €750,000.