Welcome to Spike Island

Spike Island - Fort Entrance

Cork County Council welcomes you to a unique visitor experience on Spike Island

Spike Island occupies a key location in lower Cork Harbour, which is the second largest natural harbour in the world. The multi-cultural island has hosted a monastery, a fortress and a prison within its 104 acres, all of which have left their mark.

In July 2010 a new phase in Spike Island's history began as the State, specifically the Department of Justice and Law Reform, officially handed control over to Cork County Council, thus ending two centuries of institutional use. The council is seeking to develop the island as a vehicle for retelling the story of 1400 years of history and the Irish diaspora. It is hoped that the development of Spike Island as a visitor attraction will help build on the existing tourism and heritage infrastructure in Cork Harbour.

On Spike Island, visitors can avail of a guided tour (for details see below) or can explore the island at their own pace and view what the island has to offer.

Visitors have the opportunity to walk along the walkway which was developed in 2013 around the perimeter of the fort and which offers unique views of Cork Harbour and the fort. They can also marvel at the architecture and expanse of Fort Mitchel, visit the convict cells or relax in the Spike Island Tearooms. For those who would rather something more adventurous, Spike Island Adventures (see www.spikeadventure.com for more details) is an independently owned and operated adventure facility on the island.

Cork County Council is currently embarking on the development of Spike Island as a unique cultural heritage and activity destination, offering a compelling, high quality, rich and diverse set of experiences for all visitors. Fáilte Ireland will grant aid this initial development as set out below:
Contract No 1: includes the upgrading of the pier, conservation and refurbishment of the Gaol and Shell Store, construction of a new Military Exhibition Gun Park, new extension and refurbishment of Café, access to and development of viewing platforms at Bastions No 3, No 4 and No 6, access to 6” Gun at Bastion No 4, access to Battery Observation Post at Bastion No 3 and access to Flanking Galleries at Bastions No 3 and No 4, demolition of prison intervention at ramps to Bastions No 3, No 4 and No 6, landscaping of Parade Grounds and upgrading of Firewater, Water and Wastewater infrastructure together with associated Mechanical and Electrical works.    
Contract No 2: includes the Interpretation, Exhibition Fit Out, Signage, Audio Trail, Film Production (John Mitchel), Graphic development, Interactive /Explorative development, etc to reflect the penal history of Spike Island, enforced Transportation, Military history and the Social history of the Spike Island communities. Scope also includes the development of an App and data connectivity within the Fort. The main areas to be interpreted are the Pier, Gaol, Shell Store, Gun Park, Bastions, Café and the Parade Ground.
Key Milestones:

27 Jul 2015: Contract No 1 Award Contract to Cumnor Construction Ltd
17 Aug 2015: Contract No 1 Commence Construction all areas except Café and Pier
2 Nov 2015: Contract No 1 Commence works on Café, Pier and parade Ground
15 Dec 2015: Contract No 2 Award Contract No 2 - Contractor TBA
8 Feb 2016: Contract No 2 Commence preliminary works on site
4 Mar 2016: Contract No 1 Complete interior of Gaol and Shell Store and Hand Over to Contract No 2
7 Mar 2016: Contract No 2 Commence Base Build on site
11 Mar 2016: Contract No 1 Complete Bastions No 3 and No 4 and Café
4 Apr 2016: Contract No 2 Commence site installation
6 May 2016: Contract No 1 Complete Contract No 1
20 May 2016 (Contract No 1 & 2) Complete commissioning all areas
3 Jun 2016: (Contract No 1 & 2) Substantial Completion Phase 1 works.

Cork County Council regrets any inconvenience caused by this work which will result in an enhanced visitor experience on completion. Full details of any restrictions imposed on visitors to the island will be posted on this website on an ongoing basis.
Cork County Council regrets to advise that there is no access to the Gaol (Mitchel Cell) for the duration of the construction works.


For details on the ferry service and ferry boat bookings contact

Marine Transport Services

Tel 021 481 1485


For details on Pre-Booked guided tours for Groups contact

Titanic Trail Ltd.

Tel  087 276 7218   or   021 481 5211

Email info [at] titanic [dot] ie


Guided Tours are also available for passengers on the 12 noon and 2.00 p.m. ferry each day. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket kiosk, Kennedy Pier, Cobh.

For details on Spike Island Adventures contact

Spike Island Adventures


For any other queries in relation to Spike Island contact Cork County Council at

spikeislandcork [at] corkcoco [dot] ie

Please note that this email address may not be monitored outside of office hours.