Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a trace italien fortification, a bastion fort with one section of the curtain wall built in star fashion, in the County Cork town of Kinsale, Ireland. It is an abandoned fort built in 1601, reportedly haunted by the 'White lady of Kinsale'.
In 1601, Ireland was an English client kingdom ruled by Elizabeth I in her position as Queen of Ireland. As such it was subject to attacks by England's long-time rivals the Spanish. England and Spain had been at war since 1585 over issues in the Netherlands in what would be known as the Anglo-Spanish War, and after the failure of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Spanish sought the help of Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone. The Earl of Tyrone was a clan leader who, along with other Irish lords, was heading a campaign against English rule in Ireland. O'Neill agreed to help the Spanish begin their invasion of Ireland by capturing the town of Kinsale.
On the 2nd of October, 1601, the Spanish moved an armada into Kinsale Bay as O'Neill and his men, men moved into the area north of the town. When the English forces heard of this they rushed to the area, led by Lord Deputy, Charles Blount. Although his army was unable to face the force of both the Spanish and the rebelling Irish. They where able to take their position on the high ground above Kinsale bottling the Spanish fleet in Kinsale harbour. They used this position to destroy crops and cut off supplies from O'Neill to the Spanish. O'Neill then tried to attack the English army in order to get them off the ridge and break the siege. They were forced to retreat with the English army in pursuit. O'Neill's plan was to lure the English army into a marshland in the hope that they would get stuck, but his plan failed however and the battle was lost. The Spanish signed a peace treaty and withdrew.
After the siege of Kinsale the English took extra measures against a Spanish attack in the future; this included building Charles Fort by the bay of Kinsale. Charles Fort was named after King Charles II and was occupied by the English and later British Army until Ireland became independent in 1922.
At the turn of the seventeenth century, Wilful Warrender was the daughter of Charles Fort's commanding officer, Colonel Warrender. The Warrender family lived in the fort and the Colonel was known for his strict rules and discipline. Her daughter however was more gentle then her father and fell in love with an officer stationed at the fort named Trevor Ashurst. Wilful and Ashurst eventually decided to marry each other and on the evening after the wedding, the newlyweds went for a walk along the fort's battlements. Wilful noticed some flowers growing on the rocks below the fort and Ashurst told a sentry to climb down and get the flowers for his new wife. In return, Trevor Ashurst would take the sentry's position for the night.
The Sentry retrieved the flowers and so when night fell, Ashurst went to stay in the sentry box for the night. Unluckily however, Ashurst was exhausted from the eventful day and fell asleep whilst on duty. At the same time, Wilful's father, the colonel was routinely expecting the sentry box's. When he came to Ashurst's box he was furious to see a sentry asleep and lost his temper. The Colonel shot Trevor Ashurst through the heart. He then realised who the sentry was and that he had just killed his daughters husband. Wilful soon found out what had happened and was so distraught, she committed suicide by jumping of the side of Charles Fort and into the ocean. Colonel Warrender himself was so torn that he also took his own life later that night, by shooting himself.
Wilful Warrender is said to haunt Charles Fort by floating around the fort in her wedding dress. She is known as the 'White lady of Kinsale'. It is said that the soldiers stationed at the Fort were scared of the ghost and would lock doors throughout the fort in order to try and contain the ghost, however, this had not work though.