Spike Island to become tourist attraction

Former prison site on Spike Island.

Ownership of Spike Island, site of a former prison located in Cork harbour, is to be transferred free of charge to Cork County Council to enable its development as a tourist attraction, it was announced today.

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin, making the announcement, said: “I believe that it is important to unlock any tourism potential of the Island to the immediate benefit of the Cork and Munster region generally and I would like to thank all those involved in Cork County Council for their willingness to actively explore the tourism potential of the Island."

Detailed negotiations will now take place between the Department and the Council to bring about the necessary transfer of ownership.

The island is has been in the ownership of the Department of Justice since 1985.

The Minister continued: “The Department of Justice will afford full co-operation to the County Council in having the transfer of ownership done as soon as possible to enable the Council to progress its proposals and plans.”

Formerly a monastic settlement, Spike Island was used as a prison during the 18th and 19th centuries. Campaigners had fought for the island to be transformed into a tourist attraction akin to Alcatraz in the United States following the cancellation of plans to build a new prison facility there.

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