Duncannon to Hook Head (East)     Section 29a:

Duncannon Harbour

Duncannon is a fishing village characterised by a promontory fort, 6 miles north of Hook Head, with inner and outer harbours.

iThe outer pier offers: LWS draught 0.5 m (1.64 ft) but can be 1.5m LWN at the end of the pier.  This commercial pier can be exposed in strong NW winds and fishing vessels have priority access. However the end of the pier is utilised by the local charter boats and offers access for short visits.  There are also slipways on the east side of the outer harbour and inner harbour.  The small, inner harbour is very sheltered with a mud bottom and can be accessed at high tide but will dry out at all low tides.

The Fort has a white tower with a red stripe Oc WR 4s 13m 9/7M, and this lighthouse combined with Black Head Lighthouse Oc 6s 39m 10M are the leading lights for the channel.  The position at the end of the outer pier wall is: 52° 13.327' N, 006° 56.283' W.  Be wary of approaching the harbours on a strong ebb tide.


Duncannon Village The village has restaurants, cafes, pubs and a small shop.  The long strand below the fort has Blue flag status and hosts sand sculpting and kite surfing festivals.  The Fort is open to visitors with guided tours June to September and with a café, the Cockleshell Arts Centre, craft shops and exhibitions. Contact Strand Tavern, 353 (0)51 389109,P


Duncannon Fort The Fort’s 30 ft high dry moat walls with ramparts, defend the inner fort buildings, which surround a parade ground and one of the oldest lighthouses of its kind in Ireland. Located at a lower level than the moat is the Croppy Boy Cell, where after the 1798 rebellion, prisoners were detained pending transfer to Geneva Barracks at Passage East, for trial and sentencing.

Duncannon is derived from ‘dun’ - fort and ‘Conan’ - a warrior with the Fianna. From the time of Fionn MacCool and the Fianna in the 3rd century to recent times, Duncannon has been a military defence for 17 centuries. It became the site of a Celtic and then a Norman Fortress until 1588 when the star-shaped fort was built by the British to defend an attack by the Spanish Armada. During 1649, the Fort held out against Cromwell’s forces under General Ireton. King James II sailed from here after the Battle of the Boyne 1690 and William of Orange also took ship here.  The Fort was referred to as The Second Fort of the Realm.  

Croppy Boy

During the 1798 rebellion, the nickname Croppy Boy was given to Irish rebels, whose cropped hair was associated with the anti-wig French revolutionaries and the United Irishmen, making them as targets for: interrogation, torture by flogging, picketing, half-hanging and pitch-capping. (A cone of hot pitch/ tar was placed on the head of the croppy, when the tar cooled; it was ripped off the head often removing hair, skin, and ears.) 

In 1918, it was occupied by the militia and in 1922, it was set alight by the old IRA and lay in ruins until the outbreak of World War II, when it was rebuilt and occupied by the Irish Army to be used as an observation base.  It was used for summer training until 1986 and in 1993 the Fort passed to Wexford County Council.  Duncannon Re-enactment is an annual event with displays and demonstrations from all periods in history. www.duncannonfort.com