A more 'in-depth' history of the town

      According to legend, the settlement at Duncannon dates back to the time of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna in the 3rd century AD.       

      Duncannon was of vital strategic importance as its fort commanded the bay giving sea access to Waterford Harbour. As a result it was centrally involved in wars and sieges during the 17th and 18th centuries.       

      During the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-1652), the fort at Duncannon was initially occupied by English soldiers and used as a base for an attack on nearby Redmond's Hall (now Loftus Hall). During this period it was besieged three times. In 1645 it was taken by an Irish Confederate army under General Thomas Preston. Its English garrison surrendered after lengthy bombardment, during which their commander was killed and a ship trying to bring supplies to the garrison was sunk. During the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, Duncannon was besieged again, as part of the Siege of Waterford, firstly in November 1649 by Oliver Cromwell and Michael Jones in 1649. The fort's Irish garrison held out and the siege was abandoned in December of that year. However in July 1650 Henry Ireton renewed the siege and the fort and town surrendered after the fall of Waterford, but before their food and supplies had run out.       In the Williamite war in Ireland (1689-91) James II, after his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, embarked at Duncannon for Kinsale and then to exile in France. Later, his son in law and enemy, William of Orange, marched on its cobblestones as the town and fort surrendered to his army without resistance.       

      The fort at Duncannon was one of the few places in County Wexford that did not fall to the rebels during the 1798 rebellion, though a force sent out from the fort to defend Wexford town was defeated at the Battle of Three Rocks. The fort and town then became a sanctuary for fleeing loyalists and troops in south Wexford and was also used as a prison and place of execution for suspected rebels.       

      Duncannon's strategic importance continued to be recognised throughout the 19th century. Napoleon sought and got intelligence on its strength and weakness, in preparation for a possible invasion of Ireland.       In 1987 the fort was handed over to Wexford County Council in trust for the people of Duncannon. The Fort is now run by the Duncannon Fort Committee with a Grant from Wexford County Council. An added attraction from 2002 is the Maritime Museum which charts the maritime history of one of the most dangerous coastlines in Ireland, the Wexford coast.       

      The Fort itself was officially opened in April 2001 by President Mary McAleese.