Castillo de San Felipe

Point of interest en Ferrol

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Castillo de San Felipe

Castillo de San Felipe | Wikicommons. Usuario: carrodeguas

Castillo de San Felipe | Wikicommons. Usuario: carrodeguas

An incredible fortification within the "triangle of fire"

San Felipe Castle is one of the three fortifications that made up the so-called "triangle of fire". Together with the extinct castle of San Martiño and the Castle of La Palma located in Mugardos, the three fortifications gave rise to a practically impregnable area and on which no enemy force dared to attack. 

One of the most remembered details is the gigantic chain that joined the Castles of San Felipe and La Palma. Any rival ship that tried to cross would find an unpleasant surprise from which they would be highly damaged. 

The Castillo de San Felipe began its construction at the request of Felipe II in 1557. However, the building has undergone numerous renovations, being the one belonging to the eighteenth century that we can currently visit. 

It is precisely the work carried out in 1775 that led to the christening of the Castillo de San Felipe as a "bastioned battery". With the new design the building became a fortress that was practically impossible to attack both by sea and by land. Several areas of cannon batteries had been installed, all of them focused on the sea. In addition, a system of bastions was also installed to cover any possible enemy attack coming from land.

Curiosities of the Castle of San Felipe de Ferrol

Although it is true that the Castillo de San Felipe has left behind its function as a bulwark and defense via the sea, the enclave continues to be one of the must-sees for any pilgrim, or non-pilgrim, who is in the Ferrol area. A place that has an exciting history, as we have already seen, but for which there are also a good handful of curiosities.

Castillo de San Felipe en Ferrol | Wikicommons. Autor: Jorge Láscar

Castillo de San Felipe en Ferrol | Wikicommons. Autor: Jorge Láscar

The name "Fire Triangle" is not accidental. The spectacular fortification formed by the Castillo de San Felipe, the Castillo de La Palma and the Castillo de San Martín gave rise to a triumvirate that made the area practically impregnable; at least by sea, of course. And it is that despite its iron defenses for any ship that dared to enter the area, the castle was weak to land attacks mainly due to the height at which it was located.

But in addition to the skill of the soldiers stationed in each of the fortifications, the 'triangle of fire' hid much more. And we say hid in the most literal sense of the word. On both banks of the estuary there was a gigantic chain that crossed from one side to the other; in this way any ship that dared to pass was automatically surprised and destroyed when the chain was lifted, shattering it to pieces in a matter of minutes.

One of the most remembered battles in the Castillo de San Felipe takes place at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century; we are talking about the expulsion of the British troops under the command of Commanders Pulteney and Warren. After trying to access the Ferrol estuary and take the city, the British army had to run away due to the imposing siege they were suffering as a result of the “triangle of fire”. A battle that continues to be remembered due to the high number of English soldiers compared to the Spanish; but insufficient to win thanks to the bulwark.

This battle was so important that every Saturday in August the Spanish victory over the English in the famous battle of Brión in 1800 is recreated; one more excuse that adds to the long list of those present to visit the enclave.

Hours of the Castle of San Felipe in Ferrol

As we have already told you, the Castillo de San Felipe in Ferrol is a place worth visiting due to its great history; with movie-worthy battles. Accessing it is not complicated, being able to take a close look at areas such as the central square or several of the oldest areas such as the batteries or the ammunition warehouses.

Hours for free visit

  • Monday to Sunday: 10am to 2pm / 4pm to 8pm

Schedule for guided tour

  • Thursday and Saturday (From July 13 to September 18)
  • 6:00 p.m.
  • Requires prior reservation
  • Price: €10 person (under 10 years free)
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