Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’ open for first time in over a century

Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’ that run under the notorious prison island is open to the public for the first time in over a century.

Today a popular attraction for tourists visiting from all over the world, Spike Island’s notorious history continues to fascinate visitors.

A new exciting addition – more to explore

Spike Island's 'labyrinth of tunnels' is a new addition to one of Ireland's most popular attractions.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

With a fascinating history spanning over 1300 years Spike Island was once home to a remote monastery in the Celtic Sea. Later, a fortress was built to defend an empire. However, Spike Island is most well-known as the home of a notorious prison.

The newest addition to the attraction, Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’, is now open to the public for the first time in over a century.

This means, even if you’ve already visited, a trip to this notorious prison island is a must.

Spike Island announced last week that they are now offering a Behind the Scenes tour, which takes tourists through the series of tunnels that run under the island.

What to expect – step below ground

What to expect from Spike Island's 'labyrinth of tunnels'.
Credit: Facebook / @SpikeIslandCork

Once you’ve explored all there is to see above ground at this popular attraction, you can take a deep dive into Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’ below ground.

Visitors will embark on a 20-minute tour, open only to those aged 15 and over.

Speaking to CorkBeo, a spokesperson for Spike Island explained the attraction. They said, “Each visitor dons a hard hat and hi-vis vest and grabs a torch to explore these dark, atmospheric spaces that have been unused for over a century.

“Originally intended to store the fort’s gunpowder, unbelievably they held prisoners in the 1840s in the dark, cramped, lightless spaces.”

A unique experience – discover Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’

The tunnels are a unique experience.
Credit: Facebook / @SpikeIslandCork

This unique addition to the popular County Cork attraction is a once in a lifetime experience.

If you’re concerned about being claustrophobic, Spike Island has assured visitors that the tunnels have high ceilings. So, you won’t be expected to crawl or squeeze through tight spaces.

However, they also explained that some of the tunnels are quite narrow – about the width of a typical doorway – and run for a considerable length.

Visitors should also be aware that the tunnels are “colder than outside and dark”. So, visitors should dress appropriately and bring a torch.

A limited exhibition – other things to see on the island

Check out the 'Imprisoning a Nation' exhibition after you've explored Spike Island's 'labyrinth of tunnels'.
Credit: spikeislandcork.ie

Once you’ve explored Spike Island’s ‘labyrinth of tunnels’, you can check out the limited ‘Imprisoning a Nation’ exhibition.

The exhibition, which opened earlier this year, will run until the end of 2021. It tells the story of the 1200 rebels imprisoned on the island in 1921.

Telling a story of Ireland’s troubled past, a walk around this fascinating exhibition is a truly eye-opening experience.

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