The news that Spike Island is to be developed for tourism is great news for Cobh and the entire Cork region and is welcomed by Cobh Tourism. Spike Island has massive potential and can become a World Class Tourist Attraction. Spike’s island status is one of its greatest assets and the boat trip to the island will be an integral part of the visit to the island and make for great family outings.
As well as a star shaped Fort and many buildings of historical importance there is an abundance of gently sloping land, landing facilities for boats, a deserted village, miles of shoreline and calm shallow waters.
The island has a long and colourful history and this is where most of its potential lies. Every building and feature of the island has a story to tell. Spike Island is a blank canvas that just needs imagination to outline each facet of the island’s (and indeed Ireland’s) history.
The success of the island really depends on creating many and varied uses that can coexist and intertwine, that are not entirely dependent on our unreliable weather and that will attract income from different sustainable sources on a year round basis.
Outdoor pursuits of all types could be catered for. The basic accommodation for one hundred people in the disused Fort Mitchel Prison facility could be very valuable if an Outdoor Education Facility were to be developed.
The St. Patrick’s Day Skyfest Fireworks display would be a superb event for the Island as Cork Harbour provides a natural amphitheatre for such an event. A high profile sporting event such as a Triathlon or Cross country event could also raise the profile of the island and could become an annual event with an international reputation.
Large scale outdoor events such as music festivals could also take place on the island and would benefit from the uniqueness of the venue. The rail link to Cobh makes Spike Island easily accessible from Ireland’s large population centres.
Spike Island is similar to many historical sites throughout the world that are successful tourist attractions. Examples include Port Arthur in Tasmania, Grosse Île and the Halifax Citadel in Canada, Robben Island in South Africa, Suomenlinna in Helsinki (http://www.suomenlinna.fi/) and of course Alcatraz in San Francisco. How these sites were developed and are operated can provide invaluable information on the many possibilities for Spike Island.
Cork County Council has set up a website about Spike Island. You are invited to give your ideas about what should be done to make Spike Island a World Class Tourist attraction. Go to the Comments page on: www.spikeislandcork.com