Included in the price of your ticket is a fully guided tour from the ferry to the Fortress, lasting up to 1 ¼ hours. Our fully trained guides will tell you the story of Spike Island and give you access to areas not normally open to the public. You are then free to explore the other Fortress attractions and surrounding island at your leisure.
Audioguides with 'Beacon Technology'
Our state of the art audio guides can be purchased in 4 languages, English, Irish, French and German from our cafe. They can be used with ‘beacon technology’, simple switch on the unit and plug in the headphones and start walking around, and our cutting edge beacons will detect your presence and trigger the appropriate audio. Or you can simply press and play.
Audio is one hour in total and you get to keep the guide as a souvenir!
After a short safety briefing on exiting the ferry, visitors to the island are free to explore the attractions and island setting for themselves. You will be issued with a map and can follow our 16 point ‘Monolith Trail’ to explore the area. With 104 acres of an island and a 24 acre fort, bring your walking shoes!
In the last 1300 years Spike Island has been home to heroes and villains, captains and convicts, red coats and rioters, sinners and saints. The islands impressive 104 acres have at one time or another hosted an Island monastery, an Island prison, an Island fortress and an Island home.
Today visitors can discover the islands impressive 104 acres with tours departing from Kennedy pier, Cobh, Cork Harbour, which is right next to Titanic Cobh. Cobh itself is a beautiful heritage town steeped in history, with one of the largest cathedrals in Ireland. Cobh was also the departure point for over 2.5 million Irish emigrants, the single large departure point in the country.
A scenic 10/20 minute ferry journey gives visitors an overview of the history and heritage of Cobh and Cork harbour and sets the scene for a visit to Spike. Then its on to the imposing 24 acre Fortress Spike, a 200 year old star shaped fort that holds some of the most impressive buildings in Ireland, including;
- The Punishment Block, an 1858 prison where inmates were chained to the wall in dark cells.
- The 1985 cells, which housed modern prisoners in 4 man cells and included famous inmates like Martin Cahill, orchestrator of a 40 million Euro art heist in Dublin.
- Irelands largest Artillery Gun Park, with cannons and modern military machines.
- Walk the deep and narrow tunnels to our 6’’ harbour defence guns, the largest in Ireland.
- Our former childrens prison conversion to the hold of a convict ship, our social history room, the John Mitchal room and our interactive display of Cork Harbour.
- Former church Mitchal hall, which houses temporary art exhibitions.
- Scale the points of our start shaped bastions to get incredible views of Cork Harbour and Cobh.
- Meet and talk to our trained guides who can give you all the information you need about Spike Island and how it has influenced many corner of the world.
Click here to Discover more about the history and attractions of Spike Island.