Field School accommodation will be in the fort on Spike Island. Spike is a small, uninhabited island in Cork Harbour. While there is no resident population on the island, it is not an isolated place: it is only 500m from land in one direction and 1500m across the harbour from the town of Cobh. Archaeology indicates human activity in the harbour back into early prehistory while Spike is recorded as the location of a monastic site in the early medieval period (AD 500-1,000). Due to its strategic location facing the entrance to the harbour, the island was transformed during the Napoleonic Wars when, in response to fears of a French invasion, a gun battery and later a star-shaped fort were built. The latter and its ramparts occupy about 70% of the island’s surface. The island remained as a naval and military installation for 200 years, from 1804 to 2004. When most of Ireland became independent in 1922, Britain retained Spike and the neighbouring island of Haulbowline until 1938 when they were ceded to Ireland. While both the British and later the Irish army and navy had small military prisons at Spike, the fort has been used as a civilian prison twice in its history. The first of these (1847-1883) is the focus of our research while the 20th century prison provides us with our accommodation!
From 1985 to 2004, Spike Island housed a modern prison and we will be housed in the administration block of this jail (do a Google maps search for Spike Island, Cork, satellite view: our accommodation is on the upper floor of two of the rectangular blocks in the right corner of the fort). The island does not have a resident population so we will be the only people there at night. Tourists visit the site during the day.
The accommodation on the island consists of bedrooms, a common room and kitchen. The rooms will be shared. There will be separate rooms for male and females students. There are separate male and female toilets on the corridor while hot showers are in an adjacent building. There will be a bed for each team member and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and towels (see What to Pack for a checklist of items you need to bring).
All meals are provided from Monday to Friday (students look after their own meals at weekends).