Spike Island or Inis Píc, is in the centre of Cork Harbour and as such has been a very important feature in the history of not just Cork harbour itself, but Ireland. Once a monastic settlement in the 7th century, it was a staging post for British penal transportation to the West Indies in the time of Cromwell, it is believed there are over 700 people buried there in a mass grave on the Western side of the island, who starved to death during the Genocide that has become known as ‘The Famine’. Hundreds of Republican Volunteers were kept there during the Tan War and one, Padraig de Faoite/ Paddy White a Captain in the East Clare Brigade was shot there in 1921 by a sentry while trying to retrieve a ball during a game of Hurling. In more recent times it was used as a naval base and later a prison from 1980s the 2004, it is now a Heritage site open to the public.
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Below the entrance gates to ‘Dún An Mhistealaigh’
“ The man who we honour here today was one of those, associated from his early years with patriotic endeavor, a pioneer Volunteer, Captain of the Meelick Company of the East Clare Brigade. Here where his body fell, we of the Cork Brigade pay our tribute to his memory. His spirit has gone back to Corca Baiscin, to the Stony Hills of Clare, to become part of Clare’s tradition. That tradition that ensures that in the nations need, Clare will stand in her defense as stern as the Cliffs of Moher, as strong as the Shannon, as enduring as the sea.”
Below the massive British canon that guarded the mouth of Cork Harbour from potential ‘invaders’ , it had a range of 8 miles