Hillsborough Fort

Places to See | Co. Down, Northern Ireland.



Hillsborough Fort lies just outside the village of Hillsborough in County Down. Set in the beautiful Hillsborough Forest Park and built on the site of the old Magennes stronghold, the Fort was founded in 1630 by Peter Hill and completed around 1650 by Colonel Arthur Hill.

Certainly one of the Historic Houses of Northern Ireland, the Fort consists of a square enclosed by an earthen rampart with outer stone facing. The stone facing rises above the rampart level to form a parapet wall. It was constituted a Royal Fort by Charles II.

William of Orange spent several nights at the Fort on his way South to the Boyne in 1690.

The building’s historic significance is still marked in the 21st Century by the “Hillsborough Old Guard”, a local society which keeps the tradition of the fort alive through re-enactments and events.  There is an official Bugler of the Hillsborough Fort Guard (historically the keepers of the Fort) who plays at ceremonial events.

Whilst Adults will ‘get’ the history of the location, kids will love the freedom they can experience in the vast grounds in front of the fort, making it a great  family attraction in Northern Ireland.  Despite the impression that the location is far from the rest of civilisation, the fort is just metres away from the pleasant centre of  Hillsborough, with its restaurants, shops and cafés, and of course, Hillsborough Castle, the official Royal Residence in Northern Ireland.

Address:  Hillsborough Fort, The Square, Hillsborough BT26 6AG


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