Ireland has many historical and cultural attractions, and one of the best and most efficient ways of seeing them is to hire a car. Car hire makes it very easy and convenient to visit the museums that are within the city and the archaeological and architectural sites that lie scattered across its countryside. Car hire also saves on the prohibitive costs of commercial tours, which follow a stricter itinerary and may not allow you to see some of Ireland’s “secret” treasures, which for those who travel by car, are just a detour away. One such treasure is Charles Fort in County Cork. Built in the 17th century, it is one of the best surviving examples of a star-shaped fortification. Some of the more dramatic highlights of its history include a violent invasion by the Spaniards and a counterattack by Mountjoy’s troops, and a 12-day siege bravely fought on both sides, ending with the lady of the house proudly surrendering while riding in her carriage. The fort passed through many owners who made several additions in their term of occupation. In this way the castle is a physical record of Ireland’s own turbulent history, with each room and defensive structure bearing the marks of military invasions, the rise and fall of dynasties, and the various treacheries and alliances that are part of any political rule. To travel to Carrickfergus Castle by car, start from Kinsale (The Gourmet Capital of Ireland) and take the road south east. The winding roads, which run for a total of one and a half miles, will bring you past the village of Summer Cove. It is a very pleasant and short ride, and like all car trips through Ireland, have the bonus of beautiful scenery and fresh air. To rent a car to take a car trip to Charles Fort, you can approach a carhire agency in any of Ireland’s airports or major cities.
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