The tour started with a 20 minute ferry journey that tells the fascinating story of Cobh and Cork harbour. Once on the island we learned about island life, nature and geography from Rob our tour guide while we walked beautiful island trails. Then it was onto exploring the imposing Fortress Spike which at 24 acres it is one of the largest star shaped forts in the world!
We learned alot about Spike Island from the tour such as it was the largest prison in the known world in the 1850’s with over 2300 inmates during the famine years, and there has never been before or since a larger prison in Britain or Ireland. We were very impressed with the tour of the ‘Punishment Block’ and we learned all about the dreadful conditions Victorian convicts endured, and marvelled at the differences to modern cells that we visited for the 1980’s prisoners. The tour brought us to the mighty 6’’ harbour guns which are the most powerful coastal defence guns in Ireland, and were awe stricken at the gun park’s military vehicles and canons showcase coastal warfare.
After our picnic we were delighted to participate in fantastic adventure activities which included an obstacle course, military drills and a jail break orienteering. It was a great team building experience.
Finally, it was on to the Transportation room where a recreation of a convict hulk helped us to learn about the story of the tens of thousands of Irish men and women transported from Spike Island to all corners of the world. We checked out the media room with a state of the art computer rendering of Cork Harbour where the boys took control and piloted a ship and protected Cork harbour from attack!