Spike Island in Cork Harbour

Wednesday, 12 July 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0

Spike Island (Irish: Inis Píc) is an island of 103 acres (42 ha) in Cork Harbour, Ireland. Originally the site of a monastic settlement, the island is dominated by an 18th-century bastion fort now named Fort Mitchel.

The island’s strategic location within the harbour meant it was used at times for defence and as a prison. Since the early 21st century the island has been developed as a heritage tourist attraction, with €5.5 million investment in exhibition and visitor spaces and accompanying tourism marketing. There were in excess of 81,000 visitors to the island during 2019, a 21% increase on 2018 numbers. Spike Island was named top European tourist attraction at the 2017 World Travel Awards.

Mitchel Hall © Stackc/cc-by-sa-4.0 View to Cobh © Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Derelict block in Fort Mitchel © Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Entry of Fort Mitchel © Kondephy/cc-by-sa-4.0 6 inch coastal defence gun in casemate © Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0
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6 inch coastal defence gun in casemate © Guliolopez/cc-by-sa-3.0
In May 2006 the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell announced plans to build a new prison on the island. However, in January 2007, it was decided to explore an alternative site for the new prison, and a local task group was set up to re-open Spike as a historical tourist site. In 2009 it was announced that ownership of the island would be transferred (free of charge) to Cork County Council to enable its development as a tourist attraction. The Council formed a steering group to explore how Spike Island might be developed as a tourist site, and the Council subsequently licensed operators to give guided tours of the island. Since 2015, tours depart from Cobh during the summer, taking in the fort, prison cells, gun emplacements, and key points of interest.

Following additional €5.5m investment by Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland, additional attractions and facilities were opened for the Summer 2016 season. As well as the previously opened buildings and 6-inch gun emplacements, as of Summer 2016, visitors to the “Fortress Spike Island” cultural heritage attraction can also tour the “punishment block”, the 1980s cells (which include an exhibition on the 1985 Spike Island riot), the recreation of the hull of a “transportation ship”, and an interpretative installation on John Mitchel – for whom the fort is named.

Read more on Spike Island, Ireland.com – Discover the historic Spike Island and Wikipedia Spike Island (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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