Prison Life on Spike Island

Discover the Spike Island 1921 prisoners who lost their lives during the Irish Civil War.


In a special evening tour this April, Spike Island will recall prisoner life at the time when the island was used  as a military prison in the field during the Irish War of Independence.

In 1921, Spike Island became the largest military prison in the field. At this time, Irish men and women suspected of involvement in the fight for Irish freedom, were captured and sentenced to internment. Over 1,200 would be held on Spike Island with prison riots, a hunger strike, prisoner shootings and even prison escapes as a result.

This year marks 100 years since the conclusion of the Irish Civil War, a tragic and bitter conflict following the establishment of the Irish Free State. One such tragedy of this period of conflict was the deaths of these four IRA men, once imprisoned as internees on Spike Island during the 1921 War of Independence. Having been released from the military prison in the field at Spike Island, they would later lose their lives in the lead up to and during the Civil War.

Following on from the success of the Spike Island Escape Tour in 2021, the access all areas tour will focus on four gallant soldiers – Tommy McInerny from Limerick; Volunteer Patrick A Pearse from Kinsale; Richard (Dick) Barrett of the Third West Cork Brigade, IRA and one of the escapees of the 1921 escape at Spike Island; and Volunteer James (Jim) Egan.

This guided tour will take you back in time to discover what prisoner life was like for the likes of these four men imprisoned or interned at Spike Island during the Irish War of Independence. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit an original 1921 prison hut, see a display of weapons from the era as well as a special presentation by Spike Island historian and author of Spike Island’s Republican Prisoners, Tom O’Neill.

Join us for this special tour on Saturday 15 April and walk in the footsteps of the Irish Rebels who risked their lives to fight for the cause of Irish Freedom.