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12th Jul 2019

Visit Spike Island and step inside the eerie punishment block of 19th century Ireland – here’s what to expect

Brought to you by MINI Ireland.

But first, head to Cobh. Not only is Cobh beautiful, it’s Cathedral is magnificent AND it definitely boasts it’s own individual character.

When you’re there, grab a refreshing coffee, roam about but most importantly, opt for an incredible experience on Spike Island – one that’s sure to give you a profound glimpse into what life was once like behind dismal prison walls.

We’ve teamed up with MINI Ireland, celebrating their 60th birthday! They’re giving away 48 hour test drives to anyone interested in discovering their phenomenal range and of course, the island of Ireland itself. So take advantage, friends, and get going!

In her own words, here’s Sarah Hanrahan’s experience of seeing ‘Ireland’s Hell.’

“You may be familiar with a little place called Cobh in county Cork but did you know that just a short ferry ride away from this sleepy fishing village lies a 103 acre island, once used for worship and punishment?


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#spikeislandcork time was the toughest time around for an #irish #freedom fighter. Men like #patricktierney were chained to the wall for up to 23 1/2 hours a day, often in windowless furniture-less cells. From their struggle #ireland was born. Boats to Spike Island run weekends Feb/March. @cork_harbour_islands @pure_cork @ig_cork @itscorklike @instaireland @irelandsancienteast #irelandsancienteast #cork #cobh #ferry

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Well, now you do.

Spike Island​, home to an 18th century star fort and originally the site of a monastic settlement, spans 103 acres.

In Victorian times this island boasted the largest convict depot in the world, one where a ‘punishment block,’ consisting of 28 solitary confinement cells, housed the island’s most volatile prisoners.

These prisoners were ominously veiled in black cloth and chained – an approach to managing violence which was implemented by guards after one of their own was slain by an island prisoner.

There were reportedly many suicides attempted in this punishment block which is how it became known as ‘Ireland’s Hell’ by Cobh locals.


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Super #spikeislandcork is as beautiful from the air as the ground! With scenic walks, guided tours, famine era prisons, long tunnels, museums and a cafe and gift shop, we’re #irelands premier day out! #cork #cobh #ireland #irelandtravel @cork_harbour_islands @pure_cork @tourismireland @irelandsancienteast @instaireland @discoverireland_ @ig_cork @ireland_travel @croninscoaches @cietours @excursionsireland

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Today you can take a scenic ferry ride from Cobh’s Kennedy Pier to experience one of our country’s most unusual cultural sites – also voted a top European tourist attraction at the 2017 World Travellers awards.

There are guided tours, cafés and even picnic areas, meaning your stay on Spike Island is likely to be a whole lot more pleasant than those who came before you.”

Brought to you by MINI Ireland

There’s a MINI for every lifestyle. So to prove it, we are giving you 48 hours in a MINI to see just how versatile the range can be. Are you up for the challenge? Discover the range at or why not book now?