Spike Island

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After 14 centuries of military and ecclesiastical heritage, 2005 saw the then-Justice Minister Michael McDowell put in place proposals to turn Spike Island into Ireland’s Alcatraz through the construction of a €70 million super-prison. Spike Island, situated proudly in Cobh Harbour, has a long penal history. Cromwell used it as a holding center for those awaiting transportation to Barbados, and prisoners of the War of Independence were kept there before the island was finally handed over to the Irish. In 2007, following extensive campaigning by heritage campaigners, these plans were dropped, replaced by plans for its preservation as a heritage site.


Michael Martin is the author of Titanic Trail Cobh Queenstown and has been featured in television documentaries produced by 20th Century Fox, Korean National Television, Australian TV, and National Geographic regarding Cobh and Titanic.