Spike Island Tours – ‘THE 1916 AUD GUNRUNNING SHIP’
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 druing the famine years of the 1850’s, to the centuries of island homes that have housed both military and civilian personell. This amazing and beautiful 104 acre island off the coast of Cobh 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.
On January 28th of this year we at Spike Island are launching a brand new bespoke exhibition to another fascinating chapter in Irish history, the 1916 gunrunning ship the Aud. Sir Rodger Casement was up to 1916 a highly respected Irish born British diplomat who would commit high treason by attempting to procure arms for the 1916 Easter rising. He along with other prominent Republican figures approached the German goverment, then at war with Britain during World War 1, and they argreed to send 20000 rifles, machine guns and over 1 million rounds of ammunition to Ireland. They would use a captured British ship called the SS Castro and masqurade it as a Norwegian vessel ‘the Aud’, in an attempt to land the munitions at Tralee bay, County Kerry. A respected and dynamic young German capatin was selected for the task, Karl Splinder, and he put together a crew of 16. They set sail for their top secret mission and plotted a wide course that went as far north as the Artic circle before dropping down to the West coast of Ireland.
But alas the British were expecting them, and what unfolded was a diaster for the Repulican movement. The attempt ended with the scuttling of the ship at the mouth of Cork harbour, and Splinder and his crew were taken to Spike Island before being transferred to the UK, the only Irish soil they would set foot on.
This incredible story is full of rich characters, incredible events and a real question of how different would things have been for the rising, and Irish history, had the ship made it through. On 28th January thanks to funding from Cork County Council and the Taoiseachs office a brand new exhibtion to the Aud will be launched on Spike Island, with members of the goverment, council, Navy and Aud relatives in attendence. And we are giving members of the public a first look opportunity to see the new exhibtion on Sunday 29th and to hear speeches about the Aud and her story.
The ticket price includes a return ferry journey from Kennedy pier, Cobh, a fully guided tour of the island and Fortress includign all its attractions, and then entry to the Aud exhibition where visitors can sit in on talks about this incredibe part of Irelands Republican history. The tour and talks are optional, and visitors are free to roam the island and fortress at their leisure. Its a unique chance to see a premium exhibtion launch and get a smaller, private tour of this amazing island, so join on Fortress Spike Island for this unique event.
Online tickets only, no tickets on sale on the day. we look forward to welcoming you to Fortress spike island…