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Lighting Up History: Spike Island’s Spectacular Fireworks Show

Lighting Up History: Spike Island’s Spectacular Fireworks Show

This summer, Spike Island in Cork Harbour is set to host a spectacular fireworks display in honour of its 86th birthday.

Scheduled for the 13th of July, the event promises to be a poignant tribute, with 1,300 fireworks lighting up the sky. Each firework will symbolise an inmate who tragically lost their life during Spike Island’s history as a prison. This unique event will not only commemorate the island's past but also offer a memorable evening of family fun and entertainment.

The celebrations mark the historical handover of the prison fortress from Britain on July 11th, 1938. This commemoration is part of the island’s 86th birthday celebrations, which will also include a family fun evening with pop-up musical performances and face painters. 

As the sun sets, guests can expect breathtaking views before the main fireworks display. Then the fireworks will light up the sky as darkness falls, creating a spectacular visual tribute.

The History of Spike Island

Spike Island has a rich and complex history, making it a fascinating place to visit. Originally a monastic settlement, the island later became a military fortress before transforming into one of Ireland’s most notorious prisons. From the 19th century until the late 20th century, Spike Island served as a place of incarceration for convicts, many of whom were political prisoners and criminals.

The island's history as a prison is marked by hardship and tragedy, with 1,300 inmates losing their lives over the years. The fireworks display on July 13th is a poignant tribute to these people, commemorating their lives and the island’s sombre past. The date of the event also marks the handover of the prison fortress from Britain to Ireland on July 11th, 1938, adding historical significance to the celebration.

What's On?

Spike Island offers a variety of attractions and activities that will keep you entertained before the fireworks display. Upon arriving, guests can immerse themselves in the island's rich history by exploring its well-preserved fort, museums, and exhibitions. These exhibits provide a detailed look into the island’s past, from its early days as a monastic settlement to its time as a military fortress and notorious prison.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, Spike Island’s walking trails offer stunning views of Cork Harbour and the surrounding landscape. As part of the 86th birthday celebrations, there will be pop-up musical performances and face painting, making it a fun experience for the whole family.

The Fireworks Display

The highlight of the evening will be the spectacular fireworks display, set to commence as darkness falls. With 1,300 fireworks lighting up the sky, each one symbolising an inmate who tragically lost their life during Spike Island’s history as a prison, this display promises to be both beautiful and poignant.

The fireworks will be launched from a vantage point that ensures visibility from various locations around the island. For the best views, find a spot near the fort or along the island’s walking trails where you can see the entire sky light up.

To enhance the experience, consider bringing a blanket or portable chairs to sit comfortably while watching the show. The combination of the stunning natural backdrop and the brilliant fireworks will make for a memorable evening.

Getting To and From the Event

Getting to Spike Island for the fireworks display is an adventure in itself. Visitors will take a ferry across Cork Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbours. This scenic trip offers stunning views and sets the stage for an unforgettable evening.

Boats will start departing from 5.15pm, giving you plenty of time to explore the island before the main event. Early arrivals can take advantage of the island's attractions and enjoy the family-friendly activities planned for the evening. The ferry ride itself is also a chance to soak in the beauty of Cork Harbour.

Return boats will begin departing at 10.30pm, ensuring everyone has ample time to enjoy the fireworks display and the evening’s activities. Boats will leave every 10 minutes until 11.45pm.

Tickets and Pricing

Tickets are priced at €15 for children, €29 for adults, and €79 for family tickets, plus a booking fee. These tickets include the ferry ride to and from the island, access to all the on-island activities and attractions, and the fireworks display itself.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Spike Island official ticketing site. It’s recommended to book early as this unique event is likely to be very popular.

Tips for Visitors

To make the most of your visit to Spike Island for the fireworks display, here are some handy tips:

What to Bring and Wear

  • Clothing: Dress in layers to stay comfortable as the evening progresses and temperatures drop. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must for exploring the island.
  • Blanket/Chairs: Bring a blanket or portable chairs for comfortable seating during the fireworks display.
  • Snacks and Drinks: While there may be refreshments available on the island, bringing your own snacks and drinks can be convenient, especially for families with young children.
  • Arrive Early: To fully enjoy all the island has to offer and secure a good spot for the fireworks, aim to catch one of the earlier ferries departing at 5.15pm.
  • Be Prepared for Weather Changes: Cork weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared for any changes and bring a waterproof jacket just in case.

Use Fireworks to Celebrate and Mark Special Occations in Your Life

Celebrating Spike Island’s 86th birthday with a fireworks display is a unique and memorable way to spend an evening in Cork Harbour. From the poignant tribute of 1,300 fireworks to the engaging on-island activities, this event offers something for everyone.

For the best fireworks to add to your own celebrations, look no further than Epic Fireworks. We're the UK’s leading firework retailer and we offer the biggest range of fireworks you can buy, all at unbeatable prices. Explore our selection of rockets, barrages, loud fireworks, quiet fireworks, mines, fountains and so much more.

If you’re not sure what to choose, our ready-made DIY firework packs come with a comprehensive firing guide, taking the guesswork out of what to buy and how to fire them.

Explore our full range today to find everything you need to make your celebration spectacular.

A photo of one of the Epic Fireworks New Year's DIY Display packs, showing the wide range of barrages, mines, fountains and rockets included as well as the safety equipment.

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