Spike Island Guided Tours
LOOKING FOR SOME HISTORY, NATURE, ADVENTURE OR FAMILY FUN THIS MAY BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND? TAKE THE FERRY JOURNEY ACROSS CORK HARBOUR TO THE HERITAGE ISLAND THAT HAS 1300 YEARS OF IRISH HISTORY AND MYSTERY!
** ADVANCE BOOKING HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS BOATS OFTEN BOOK OUT **
The story of Spike Island off the coast of Cobh has been the story of Ireland. From the 6th century monastery built by St Mochuda, to the 18th century British Fortress built to defend an empire. From the worlds largest prison during the famine years of the 1850’s, to the centuries of island homes that have housed both military and civilian personnel. This amazing and beautiful 104 acre island has echoed the demands and wishes of those in power on the mainland, and today the island is in a unique position to retell the story of over 1300 years of Irish penal, military, social and religious history.
Spike Island is open to visitors in April for weekends and on set days during the Easter holidays, see www.spikeislandcork.ie for full opening times. Visitors can enjoy a scenic ferry ride across Cork Harbour before enjoying a guided tour of our island, Fortress and Prison. You then have time to self explore our museums, exhibitions, prison, fortress and wider island and enjoy our fully stocked cafe before departing for Cobh. Boat spaces are limited so advance booking is highly recommended. Allow 3 1/2 hours for the full Spike Island experience and select your departure time carefully as this cannot be changed.
Attractions include the 1850’s Punishment block, which was described as ‘hell on earth’ by the penal classes in Britain and Ireland during the famine years. Explore dark cells and prisoner art galleries. There is also the contrast with our modern prison cells, built in the 1980’s to house the growing number of joyriders being incarcerated.
On the military front we have a military museum with Army, Navy and social exhibitions. There is Ireland’s largest military gun park with its artillery, military vehicles and impressive weaponry, always a hit with children. And for the adventurous you can walk the long tunnels deep into our forts walls to find the 6″ harbour defense guns, whose powerful barrels could fire a shell over 12 miles out to sea!
We also represent the social history of our island and there are social history rooms alongside a room dedicated to Cork Harbour which contains a graphic representation of the harbour which kids can use to fire the forts cannons! And in our former children’s prison we have a room dedicated to Nationalist John Mitchel and an audio visual installations that relays over 150 years of prison life.
Visitors can also enjoy access to our Aud exhibition, the 1916 German gun running ship which tried to send arms to aid the Easter rising. And of course we have over 104 acres of beautiful Island wildlife and scenery for those who love the outdoors. In short, we recommend bringing your walking shoes, for not only is there the attractions inside the fort, but our outer island offers unrivalled views of Cobh and Cork harbour!
We look forward to welcoming you to Fortress Spike! See www.spikeislandcork.ie for more Spike history. Advance booking highly recommended as boats typically sell out in advance.
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