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Spike Island
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A 104-acre island with 1300 years of history. It has been a Monastery, Fortress, Prison and Island home, and now a top tourist attraction.

Voted Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards

In the last 1300 years Spike island has been home to rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts, monks and monasteries and sinners and saints. Its beautiful 104 acres have housed an Island Monastery, Fortress, Prison and Homes and today the island can be reached by a short and scenic ferry from the heritage town Cobh. Once on the island, visitors join Ireland's best storytellers for a mesmerising insight into the personal stories of this unique corner of the Ancient East. 

Enter the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the 24 acre star shaped Fortress built to defend an empire that became the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s during the famine years. Tens of thousands of Irish men and women were transported to America and Australia from Spikes prison. The island would be used by both the British and Irish army and navy before becoming a prison again in the 1980’s. 

Today's visitors can explore the vast Fortress, enter the infamous Punishment block and modern prison cells, see Ireland's largest military gun park, journey through the tunnels to the harbour defence guns, enter the former childrens prison and explore the 104 acres of villages, beaches and grasslands.   

Highlights include:
  • A short ferry trip to an historic island in Cork Harbour
  • The 200 year old 24 acre Fortress built to defend an empire.
  • The largest prison in the world in the 1850’s.
  • Several leading visitor attractions with military, penal and social history. 
  • 104 acres of beautiful green walks.
  • Unrivalled views of heritage town Cobh and Cork harbour.
  • An ideal family day out with picnic spots, cafe and wide open spaces.

Visitor Information

Open Year Round 

July and August - 7 days a week. Boats from 11am to 2pm.

September - 7 days a week. Boats 12pm to 2pm.

October and November - weekends and half term. Boats 12pm to 2pm


Additional days during school mid-terms, see www.spikeislandcork.ie for today's sailing times.

YEAR ROUND After Dark tours, Cinema club evenings, Cork Harbour tours and evening events – see website for an event schedule. 


Contact Details

Spike Island
Kennedy Pier, Cobh, Co. Cork

T: +353 (0)21 2373 455
W: www.SpikeIslandCork.ie

Closed: December / January. Open to pre-booked groups only. 

Approx. visit duration: A typical visitor spends 3.5 hours, can be from 2 hours to 5 hours.

Other opening times: Occassional evening performances include shows, concerts, after dark tours and private tours. Check website for updates. 


Admission Prices 2020

Adult: €20.00
Senior (aged 65+): €17.00
Student (with valid ID): €16.00
Child (aged 3-12): €11.00
Child (under 2): Free
Family of 4 (any composition): €49:00

Pre-booking sailings is highly recommended, particularly during the summer months.

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Other Useful Information

Audio guides can be purchased in Irish, English, French and German. Printed guides can be purchased in purchased in Irish, English and Spanish. 

Café on site, seats up to 98 and serves soups, sandwiches, hot rolls, paninis, confectionary, teas, coffees, cakes, deserts and soft drinks. Open all day until 30 minutes before final ferry departure. 

They have several outdoor picnic areas and picnic hampers can be hired up to 48 hours in advance for collection from their cafe.

Gift shop sells branded stationary, clothing, books, video and toys.   

Free parking is recommended at the car park on the North side of Cobh Cathedral, which is a 10 minute walk to Kennedy Pier, Cobh, next to Titanic Cobh. Free car and coach parking is also available at the Five Foot Way Car park, which is 1.5km from Cobh centre.  

Their current departure pier has a flight of stairs which wheelchairs cannot access.  

Group rates available (minimum 15 people). Pre-booking required.  Spike Island can, by request, accommodate special interest tour groups interested in any aspect of the island and its history e.g. groups interested in military, architecture, penal, nature etc.

Free Wi-Fi available throughout the island.


  • NUMBER 1 attraction in Cork on Tripadvisor.
  • Excellence in local authority – tourism nominee

Map Location

Ferries depart from Kennedy pier which is right in the centre of Cobh next to Titanic Cobh. Cobh is 25 minutes by car and 23 minutes by train from Cork city centre, 25km distance. 25 minutes from Cork Airport, 23km. Exit junction 3 on the N25 signposted Cobh.

 Spike Island    Nearby Attractions

Have an Enquiry?

If you are interested in visiting this attraction, seeking more information or have a group enquiry, please contact us here.