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You could be going to 'Ireland's Alcatraz' for your next summer concert

Cork County Council are to redevelop Spike Island into a tourist attraction and venue.

Cork County Council say they would ultimately like to see Spike Island also used as a concert venue.
Cork County Council say they would ultimately like to see Spike Island also used as a concert venue.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WORK IS TO begin next month on a €40 million project to turn the former prison on Cork’s Spike Island into a tourist attraction.

Spike Island is located in Cork harbour and and was first used as a the site of a monastic settlement before being turned into a military fort by the British government and later as a prison.

It is perhaps most well known as a prison and having was used extensively during the War of Independence and as a youth detention  centre and prison up to 2004.

‘The General’ Martin Cahill was one of the most well-known of the prison’s past residents and its location on an island in the Cork harbour earned it the nickname ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’.

spike 1 The entrance to Fort Mitchell on the island. Source: Spike Island Cork

Plans within the last decade to redevelop the site as a prison have been scrapped. Instead, a €40 million plan is now being commenced to turn the 104 acre island into a tourist site to tell the story of the island’s 1400 years of history as well as that of that of the Irish Disapora.

Yesterday, Cork County Council signed a €5 million deal with Cumnor Construction Ltd to begin work on the site that will be completed in June of next year.

Fáilte Ireland is also investing €2.5 million in the project with Cork County Council saying that the complete redevelopment of the island will be phased over a number of years.

spike 2 Spike Island on the entrace to Cork Harbour from the air. Source: Youtube/AndrewRing

The first phase of the redevelopment will see the pier on the island refurbished and additional lighting put in place.

An interpretative centre will also be built and a new aquarium on the island is also slated to be part of the completed project.

Cork County Council say that they expect the management of the island to also use Spike Island as a venue for summertime events and concerts.

Read: These are Ireland’s top 15 tourist towns >

Read: 10,000 tourists, four MASSIVE ships: The cruise-liners are jammed into Dublin today >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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