Regular Tours

Ferry journey

Your ticket price includes a seat on one of our comfortable ferries for the short and scenic 12 minute crossing across Cork harbour, one of the worlds largest natural harbour.  Enjoy the stunning views of Cobh from the water and keep an eye out for seals, dolphins and sea birds!  Your return boat is 3.5 hours later, we have lots to see and recommend staying this long.  But shorter and longer stays are available on request.  

Guided Tours

Included in the price of your ticket is a guided tour and island induction, which starts from the ferry arrival point to the Fortress and lasts up to 45 minutes. We highly recommened you sit in on the tour, to get an overview of our history and how best to enjoy your visit.  Our fully trained storytellers will share the 1300 year history of Spike Island, escorting you from the pier past the island's pretty cottages and on to the fierce fortress. Learn all about our military, penal, social and monastic past. You are then free to explore our forts atmospheric prison cells, impressive military fortifications, long tunnels and over a dozen separate exhibitions and museums at your leisure. 

With your tour done, you will know better what you are seeing in our amazing buildings, and you can leave time to do one of our two island walkways, the 20 minute 'Glasis walk' around our fortress with stunning harbour views, or the 'Ring of Spike' walking trail, a 45  minute walk around our coastline surrounded by nature and wildlife.  Your FREE map and app will guide you along with signage and information panels. 

Audioguide option

Our excellent audio guides can be purchased at our ticket office or in our gift shop in 4 languages, English, Irish, French and German.  Simply switch on the unit and plug in the headphones and when you see a number marked out on our impressive 'monolith' display boards, hit the corresponding number in your guide.  

The audio is one hour in total with 16 stops, and as it is yours to keep so you can listen more at home or while travelling.


Self-Guided Tour

After a short safety briefing on exiting the ferry or when your guided tour ends, visitors to the island are free to explore the attractions and island habitat for themselves without taking the tour, but we do highly recommend the tour.  You will be issued with a map and can follow its suggest route of buildings and sites numbered 1 - 12.  With 104 acres of natural sland and a 24 acre fort, bring your walking shoes!

Cafe / Toilets / Gift Shop

Our fully stocked Cafe is housed in the former prison gymnasium and sells hot rolls, wraps and sandwiches, pizza slices, soup, tea/coffee, scones, cakes and other items. 

Toilets are are located on the pier and at the fort entrance and in the cafe.

What's Here

In the last 1300 years Spike Island has been home to heroes and villains, captains and convicts, red coats and rioters and 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 Mitchel 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.
  • Finally walk the beautiful outer island with rich nature and wildlife and incredible mainland and sea views.

Click below to Discover more about the history and attractions of Spike Island.

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