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#SpikeIsland - In Cork Harbour the visitor centre on Spike Island run by Cork County Council has been named Europe's leading tourist attraction at the 2017 World Travel Awards.

RTE news writes that Fortress Spike Island saw off competition from the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace and Rome's Colosseum to win the award.

The 104-acre Spike Island was a monastic settlement in the seventh century, a British artillery fortification from the 18th century, and a prison from where thousands of convicts were transported to Australia in the 19th century.

It remained under British control, even after the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, and was handed over to the Irish State in 1938.

It operated as a prison again from 1985 until the last of the prisoners left in 2004.

To read more on this tourist attraction award, click here. 

Published in Cork Harbour

#Exhibition - A new permanent display commemorating the gun-running ship Aud opened recently on Spike Island, Cork Harbour.

The exhibition writes East Cork Journal honours the men and crew of the German vessel which was scuttled in the harbour in 1916.

The German crew were attempting to deliver weapons as part of the preparations for the Easter Rising, when the ship was trapped by a blockade of British ships.

9 April: SS Libau masquerading as the SS Aud under the command of Karl Spindler set sail for Tralee bay. Under Spindler was a crew of 22 men. The vessel was laden with an estimated 20,000 riffles, 1 million rounds of ammunition, 10 machine guns and explosives.

While the vessel was at sea the meeting date had changed to the 23 April.

20 April: The Libau / Aud arrived in Tralee bay unaware of the change of date. The crew were to Rendezvous with Roger Casement who was landed close by, by a German u-boat.

The ship was spotted by a blockade of British ships and escorted towards Cork Harbour.

22 April: At exactly 6:30pm the crew scuttled the ship outside Cork Harbour.

If the meeting had gone as originally planned and the Irish kept their side of the agreement history may have been rewritten.

The exhibition is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gealtacht affairs.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SpikeIsland - The burial of a graveyard on Spike Island in the mid-19th century covered up the “death trap” conditions at its Victorian-era prison.

That’s according to new research on the site in Cork Harbour, as The Irish Times reports, that investigates the extraordinary mortality rate at what was once the largest prison in the United Kingdom, but has now been restored as a tourist attraction.

Though blamed on famine conditions in Ireland at large, UCC researcher Dr Barra O’Donnabhain says poor sanitation and malnutrition among the more than 2,300 prison population were more directly to blame.

The result was some 80% of all 1,200 convict deaths recorded for the 36 years of the prison’s existence occurring within a single five-year period, between 1850 and 1854.

“The burial of the graveyard was ostensibly done as part of the completion of the fortifications on the island, it also conveniently hid the evidence,” says Dr O’Donnabhain.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

#CorkHarbour - Spike Island's new interpretive centre is scheduled to welcome its first visitors this summer, according to the Evening Echo.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Block B of the old prison building was earmarked for refurbishment as a visitor centre for what's hoped to be a major tourist attraction in Cork Harbour.

The first phase of these works, comprising a new pontoon and pier upgrades as well as a previously envisaged exhibition of military memorabilia, is now expected to be ready and open to the public by June.

A passenger ferry service from Cobh to Spike Island will also be running in time for the summer season.

The Evening Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour

#CorkHarbour - Five years after Spike Island was first opened as a tourist attraction, plans are in the making for a new interpretive centre on the site that could be ready by next summer.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the €2.5 million Fáilte Ireland-funded project for the former prison island in Cork Harbour could see ground broken as soon as September ahead of ribbon cutting in time for the 2016 summer tourism season.

According to county engineer David Keane, Block B of the old prison building will be refurbished for the visitor centre, which will house an exhibition on the history of the island as well as military memorabilia.

It's hoped that the plans will attract up to 300,000 visitors to Cork Harbour annually, and create some 190 jobs.

The Irish Examiner has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour

#CorkHarbour – As previously reported the Cork Harbour Open Weekend (14-15 Sept) programme is packed with lots of activities on offer for all ages and activities for all the family, both on and off the water. Why not try out sailing or visit an Irish Naval Ship or cheer on the dragon boats!

The open weekend is a great opportunity for people to see exactly what Cork Harbour has to offer, and this year is no exception with the second largest natural harbour in the world playing host to a number of events.

An Inter-Firm Dragon Boat Race on Lapps Quay Cork City organised by Meitheal Mara will take place on Saturday at 3pm, kayaking in Cobh and Cork City, a raft race organised by Scouting Ireland, a free open day at the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) in Ringaskiddy and the Irish Naval vessel L.E.Orla will be open to the public for free tours on both Saturday and Sunday.

For anyone interested in trying their hand at sailing the world's oldest yacht club, RCYC in Crosshaven will open their doors to provide sailing for adults and children on Saturday at 11am. This is a great way for everyone to experience the wonderful sport of sailing within Cork Harbour.

Cork Boat Club in Blackrock invites the public to come along and tour their boathouse, meet the rowers and enjoy a coffee or some home baking in their café on Saturday at 11am.

To celebrate Cork Harbour Open Weekend, Cork County Council is offering individuals and families an opportunity to visit Spike Island to experience the rich history which this Island has to offer at significantly reduced rates. Children's Entertainment will be provided on both days from 12pm – 5pm with free guided tours of the Island taking place on the hour from 11am – 3pm departing from the Coffee Shop, Spike Island. The Cobh Animation Team dressed in appropriate period costumes will also be present. Visitors also have the opportunity to stroll on the 1.6km Glacis Walk, a walkway developed around the perimeter of the fort with its unique views of the harbour.

The ferry will leave Kennedy Pier, Cobh regularly from 11am – 3pm with return ferries available until 6pm on both days. The cost is €5 per adult and €15 per family (1adult& 3 children or 2 adults & 2 children, each additional child will cost €3).

Camden Fort Meagher will be hosting Military Re-enactments from the Celts, Romans right through to World War 1&2 with over 60 re-enactors on site. There will also be a fancy dress themed weekend with prizes for different categories. Admission details can be found on www.camdenfortmeagher.ie

In Cobh, there will be crab fishing for kids at The Promenade from 3 – 5pm on the Saturday, while on Sunday the Band 1 Southern Brigade will perform on the Victorian bandstand at 3pm.

Also in Cobh on both Saturday and Sunday, there will be a final opportunity to see the magnificent photograph exhibition on Cork Dockyard in Cobh Heritage Centre. Admission is free.

For anyone with an interest in the Lusitania tragedy, local historian Jack Gilmartin will attend the Lusitania graves in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh and outline the town's links with the tragedy of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, on Sunday at 2pm.

Taking place on Saturday, 15th September at 2.30pm will be an air/sea rescue demonstration in the lower harbour carried out by the Irish Coastguard. This is a super spectacle for everyone to watch from the shoreline and see the incredible work carried out by our Coastguard.

Aimed at embracing what Cork Harbour has to offer, the Cork Harbour Open Weekend aims to raise awareness of the different activities available for people in the harbour both on and off the water. It's a great day for all the family with many events are free to everyone.
The idea for a Harbour Open Day, now extended to a full weekend, emerged from discussions between various stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of the Integrated Strategy for the Harbour in 2007. This has been taken forward by the Harbour Management Focus Group (HMFG) which meets quarterly to exchange information on Harbour issues. A HMFG working group comprising representatives from UCC, City and County Councils and the Port of Cork set about working together to engage users of the Harbour and to organise the Open Day.

For more information on Cork Harbour Open Weekend and see the full programme of events visit www.corkharbour.ie or email [email protected]

 

Published in Port of Cork
Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 docked at Cobh today, the 148,528 tonnes giant liner follows Queen Elizabeth which made her maiden call to Cork Harbour last Saturday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Queen Mary 2 cost €549m and she is the only true 'liner' operating in the world today as she on occasions provides scheduled trans-Atlantic sailings between Southampton and New York. Some of these sailings include calling to Hamburg. In addition to this role she offers worldwide cruising. Her predecessor Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) was sold several years to Dubai interests.

The current liner (QM2) can carry 2,620 passengers and a crew of over 1,200 on a vessel is the longest, tallest and widest of any passenger liner built. The luxury liner has private balconies for nearly 80 per cent of cabins and has an art collection worth £3.5m. To complement these works of art there is the first 'floating planetarium', the largest library at sea, boasting 8,000 hardbacks and also the largest ballroom to grace a ship on the oceans.

Queen Mary 2 was short-listed to be built in Belfast at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, but the contract went to Chantiers d'Atlantique, St. Nazaire on the west coast of France.

Her first visit to Irish waters occurred when she anchored off Dunmore East in 2005, the liner had arrived overnight on a passage from her homeport of Southampton and was on a nine-day cruise of British, Irish and Baltic state ports.

Today's Cobh visit of the 345m long Queen Mary 2 coincided with Ocean Countess, a former 'Cunarder', which is also in the port. The 163m vessel was built in 1976 and launched as their Cunard Countess. She weighs 17,593grt and has a 800 passenger capacity. Last year she joined Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) fleet under charter from Majestic International Cruises Group.

Also at work in Cork Harbour was the excursion vessel Spirit of the Isles which apart from operating River Lee sight-seeing cruises between Cork city-centre and Cobh at the weekends, is running a charter cruise this afternoon to Spike Island. For information about sightseeing trips and chartering click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
With less than a fortnight to go Corkonians and visitors alike can look forward to Cork Harbour Open Day, writes Jehan Ashmore
The Cork Harbour event is take place on Saturday 10 September, and on that morning the newest vessel of the Cunard Line fleet, the Queen Elizabeth is to make her maiden call to Cork following a visit to Dublin. At over 90,000 tonnes, the cruiseship which was named last year by Queen Elizabeth is to dock at Cobh. Visitors will be able to view the impressive vessel from the quayside. To read more facts and figures about the Cunard Line vessel click HERE.

This will be the third Cork Harbour Day which is to cover a wide range of events, such as concerts on Spike Island, a photographic exhibition in Camden Fort, guided tours of an Irish naval ship at Cork City Quays and an open day at the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI).

In addition Fastnet Line's ferry Julia will be open for the public to board. The 22,161 gross tonnes serves the Cork-Swansea route and for the Open Day she will be berthed at Ringaskiddy Deepwater Berth instead of the nearby ferry terminal. To read details of Open day programme visit www.corkharbour.ie and updates click HERE.

The concept for the Harbour Open Day emerged three years ago, which combined various stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of the Integrated Strategy for Cork Harbour. A group comprising of representatives from UCC, City and County Councils, the Naval Service and the Port of Cork set about working together to engage with users of the harbour and to organise the Open Day.

Cork Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world, next to Sydney Harbour, offering beautiful locations for enjoying the outdoors, dramatic coastlines, and excellent leisure facilities, and is home to some very talented artists, sportsmen and women, and people who are passionate about the history, heritage and cultural value of Cork Harbour.

Published in Cork Harbour
24th September 2010

Spike Island Revisited

It's unclear how Spike Island, now a tourism and heritage site, will be marketed says Mary Morrissy in today's Irish Times HERE

 

 

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

The first visitors to Spike Island this summer will be given walking tours of the new tourism attraction Cork County council says. The island in the middle of Cork harbour is the subject of proposals to develop it as a major tourism resource in the harbour. More here.

Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

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