Grey Point Fort - History and Facts | History Hit

Grey Point Fort

Helen's Bay, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Grey Point Fort is a WWI era coastal defence battery and one of the best preserved early 20th century coastal forts anywhere in the British Isles.

Lily Johnson

10 May 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia: Albert Bridge / Grey Point Fort, Helen's Bay (3) / CC BY-SA 2.0

About Grey Point Fort

Grey Point Fort is a coastal defence battery designed to defend the entrance to Belfast Lough during both World Wars. It today houses a museum focusing on military history and the area’s role in the conflicts.

Grey Point Fort history

Built in 1904 and operational in both World Wars, Grey Point Fort originally housed a number of large-calibre coastal guns designed to protect against naval attack. Across Belfast Lough, a second battery was also built at Kilroot to ensure the strategic entrance to Belfast was fully defended.

In World War One it was expanded to accommodate the men of Kitchener’s Army, and throughout World War Two became the coastal defence headquarters for Northern Ireland. Though it never saw action in a military engagement, legend states that during a test-firing of its two six inch guns a cow was killed on the Antrim side.

Following its disuse as a military base in 1957, its two vast guns were sold off for scrap. Between 1992 and 1996 however two original guns from Cork were brought to the site, including a 12ft-long gun from Spike Island in Cork Harbour.

In recent years Grey Point Fort underwent a large restoration project run by volunteers. It now houses the Military Memorabilia Museum as well as a unique World War Two Military Radio Museum, built up by amateur radio enthusiasts and funded by donations from the public and veteran soldiers.

Grey Point Fort today

Today visitors can still explore the massive gun emplacements and the guns themselves – sadly not the originals – while also exploring the other areas of the battery, such as the fort’s observation posts.

The museums contain a fascinating collection of military memorabilia as well as historic military radio equipment such as Morse code telegraphic kits and an original Bletchley Park receiver.

As one of the best preserved 20th century coastal defence forts anywhere in the British Isles, Grey Point is a unique site in Northern Ireland. With stunning views over Belfast Lough, it provides a pleasant and informative visit for those looking to explore the area’s military history.

Getting to Grey Point Fort

Grey Point Fort is located in Helen’s Bay in Northern Ireland and can be accessed via the A2, with Helen’s Bay Car Park a 7-minute walk away. Helen’s Bay Train Station is a 17-minute walk away, while the 502a bus service stops at Ballymullan Road, a 30-minute walk away.