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“Great way to spend an afternoon”
Review of Spike Island

Spike Island
Ranked #2 of 165 things to do in Cork
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Discover Ireland's Captains & Convicts, Rebels and Rioters & Sinners and Saints at Spike Island Cork, voted Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction of 2017! The Island is located off the coast of Cobh in Cork harbour & has over 1300 years of Irish history. From an island monastery & fortress to the world's largest prison in the 1850's and centuries of island homes. Your journey starts with a ferry ride before Ireland's best storytellers take you on a guided tour of the outer island and fortress. You can then self explore our prison cells, fortress, beautiful island walks and also use our on-site cafe. Attractions include the 1850's punishment block with its dark cells, the 1980's prison cells and riot exhibition, Ireland's largest artillery gun park and several penal, military and social history museums. With activities for children and families and guided and self-guided tours, Spike Island has something for everyone. Groups welcome, audioguides in French, German and English available.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Baby buggy parking, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Reviewed 20 January 2012

Nice ferry trip from Cobh, great guided tour, relic of troubled times - fabulous sense of history...

4  Thank Pat O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (1,202)
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"boat trip"
in 97 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 144 reviews
"dark tour"
in 21 reviews
"naval base"
in 18 reviews
"explore the island"
in 14 reviews
"cork harbour"
in 63 reviews
"interesting trip"
in 13 reviews
"steeped in history"
in 31 reviews
"coffee shop"
in 35 reviews
"three hours"
in 10 reviews
"great trip"
in 22 reviews
"excellent tour"
in 15 reviews
"would highly recommend a visit"
in 10 reviews
"interesting place"
in 13 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 12 reviews
"lovely cafe"
in 11 reviews
"well worth the visit"
in 15 reviews
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1,155 - 1,159 of 1,202 reviews

Reviewed 13 January 2012

Visited Spike Island on the walking tour with guide Dr Michael Martin. What a gem of a visit. A short but lovely boat trip across the harbour from the picturesque town of Cobh, to land at the pier on Spike Island. The tour was very interesting, and informative with a very knowledgable and easy to listen-to tour guide who highlighted the really interesting parts of the history of Spike Island, up to its use in the 2000s as a prision. The time allowed for free roaming around the fort on the island was very welcome and the views from the room with teh 6 inch gun overlooking the entrance to the harbour was facinating. This is definitely worth a visit or two.

3  Thank Niall O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2011

Went there as part of a RedFM concert day but wandered around for a look. Its great for anyone who remembers the riots or joyriders in the 80s. The cells are gas with the 2002 posters including holly valance and also the fact everything is just left like the day it closed inclusing the kitchen, the school, the tv in the rooms, the mattresses. Its a great tour and recommend taking it before it gets too polished.
Ferry is very short from Cobh and worth the visit.

1  Thank irishtourerIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2011

Spike Island is an island in the middle of Cork Harbour. It is only accessible by ferry from the town of Cobh. The island is marketed as Ireland's Alcatraz which is a tilt to the fact that at a time it was a transit prison for those unfortunates that were sentenced to deportation to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and Bothany Bay for such serious offences a stealing food.
At the core of the island stands Fort Mitchell (formerly) Fort Westmorland, a word one could dissect into three words and it might tell its own story.
The island in more recent years was a Irish army barracks having been handed back to Ireland in 1938 by the departing British Forces. After the Irish army vacated the Irish Navy took possession for a time until, in answer to a spike in car thefts (pardon the pun) it was turned into a prison again. The deterrent of prison did not solve the car theft problem but the addition of a chip on your car keys did ! The prison was closed and the island began a slow descend into dereliction.
Only recently has it been opened to the public. Once you get over the shock of the dereliction and the walk up the hill you enter the Fort and see what I meant when I said it is at the core of the island. There is a large square which I am sure was pounded by several thousand pairs of army boots and some barefooted mis-fortunates also I am sure. It is surrounded by buildings in various stages of dereliction and misguided renovation by a disinterested prison service. But all that does not take away from the mystique that surrounds the place.
The local county council now own the place and are striving valiantly to give life back to the island. A local tour guide conducts a fabulously interesting walk around the island and its fort for those that are interested. Expect few creature comforts but be prepared to be intrigued if not moved. The boat trips are at noon, two and four but be aware that if there are not a minimum of fourteen passengers the boat will not travel at that prescribed time.
I was there for the Island's first endeavour to host a Picnic/Music event. It was a lovely experience to sit on the grass and be entertained. More and better is promised for 2012.

13  Thank SirNorman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 September 2011

I like it must place to go. The guide over there has done 15 yrs of research on this island

1  Thank VikramDeepSingh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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