Spike Island Hiking Trails | Cork Harbour | Cobh | County Cork | Ireland Website: Spike Island Know Before You Go: This is a ticketed experience and you must access it via ferry. Be sure to bring layers because the sea wind can get quite chilly. Length: 3.5 miles depending on how much you explore. Time: Each visit is 3.5 hours. Terrain: Grass, dirt, some paved. Difficulty: Easy. Dog-friendly: Yes. Dogs must be leashed. Kid-friendly: Yes. We saw many kids on this hike.
The hike around Spike Island, in Cork Harbour near Cobh, is a great look back over Cobh’s history. Spike Island began as a remote monastery in the Celtic Sea, then became a Fortress to protect Ireland and Britain from invaders in the sea - potentially the newly-formed America. The Island then served as a prison several times to hold Irish revolutionaries and errant teens.
Watch for birds along the trail, including ring-necked pheasants who surprised us by flying up when we came too close! The trail offers great views of the sea and is often fringed by native flowers and trees, which add to the beauty.
You can pop in to several displays, including a museum honoring the 1921 revolution from England and a look inside the prison. The route takes you along the water’s edge where you can see great views of the surrounding islands and the beautiful Cobh waterfront.