In the last 1300 years Spike Island has been home to rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts, monks and monasteries and sinners and saints. Its beautiful 104 acres have housed an Island Monastery, Fortress, Prison and Homes and today the island can be reached by a short and scenic ferry from the heritage town of Cobh. Once on the island visitors join Ireland’s best storytellers for a mesmerising insight into the personal stories of this unique corner of the Ancient East.
Enter the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the 24 acre star shaped Fortress built to defend an empire that became the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s during the famine years. 2300 inmates were crammed into every corner of the star shaped Fortress. Thousands of Irish men and women were transported to America and Australia from Spike Islands prison, and the island would be used by both the British and Irish army and navy before becoming a prison again in the 1980’s.
Today’s visitors can explore the vast Fortress, enter the infamous Punishment block and modern prison cells, see Ireland’s largest military gun park, journey through deep tunnels to the harbour defence guns, enter the former children’s prison and explore the 104 acres of villages, beaches and grasslands. Will you escape from Fortress Spike?