The Phoenix Park Magazine Fort was built in 1735 and was occupied by the Brits. By 1939 its purpose was to house the Irish Army’s stock of ammunition and guns. During the 1916 Easter Rising, members of the Irish Volunteers and Fianna Eireann attacked the fort, stole some ammunition and set fires intended to blow up the rest. However, the fires burned out before reaching the ammunition and not much damage was done.
The fort is situated in the south-eastern part of Phoenix Park and is heavily guarded by three gates. I named these gates the ‘gates of hell’, purely because they were so difficult and nerve-wracking to get over.
The first gate is topped with multiple rolls of barbed wire, the second was so high and unsteady it took me about an hour to figure out how to get over it and the third was just plain awkward and carried with it the danger of getting a spike up the area where the sun don’t shine!
After completing this terrifying obstacle course, I explored every nook and cranny of the fort. There were a large number of rooms with fireplaces and stoves still intact, a warehouse, basement, two towers with slits in the walls where snipers would have been placed at and finally, outdoor toilets.
One thing I noticed after looking back on the photos I took was just how colourful every room was. Nearly every wall had a different colour wallpaper which was flaking off the walls which added an interesting texture to the photographs.
Many parts of the floors were caved in as were walls and some parts of the ceilings. The basement was entirely flooded and the floor had turned into a quicksand type substance.
One of the most interesting findings was a big brown box in which teabags would have been shipped in. This can be seen in the photo where the words “Capital Tea” can be made out.
When the moment came where I was faced with climbing back over the gates of hell, I decided I did not want to do it so the park rangers were called by my friend who I was with and they came and rescued me like knights in shining armour. My friend does not let me live down to being such a wimp, but if you saw those gates you’d agree that when I was let out by the (laughing) rangers, it was a walk of glory not shame!