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View Full Version : Interesting View of Fort Mitchel (Spike Island)



ZULU
11th September 2006, 16:25
Saw this while going for lunch from work

Tried to post in Gallery but Login and Registration dont like me:confused:

goc132
11th September 2006, 21:30
where is the gallery?

Joshua
11th September 2006, 21:44
Zulu, try again.

GOC top rhs of this screen.

AlanF
29th December 2007, 17:59
Removed by Owner

darkvader
29th December 2007, 19:11
In 1980 the Naval Service set up its Naval Training Center on Spike Island.

Spike was quite a unique place which was steeped with history and intregue and as mentioned in another post quite a spooky place which would make you wonder what was lurking in the shadows.

The history about Spike was that in the early 19th century it made up a trio of Forts protecting Cork Harbour. It was considered at the time as the most protected harbour in the world due to the natural location of Spike Island which was central to the defensive strategy of the English.

Spike itself was also one of the last places in Ireland that convicted people were kept until they were shipped to Van Demons Land. There are some simple graves located on the island which are simply marked with a broken slate and a surname etched upon it.

I have some great memories of Spike as I spent a lot of time there over the 4 years it was used by the Naval Service. I will share some of these with you and would like others to contribute as well. Will also bring up some interesting dialogue regarding the fascinating structures the fort had as well as the appalling conditions endured by Naval Personnel as well as a Minnie Mutiny.

AlanF
Do you recall when the duty guard watch fell a sleep
Darkvader

AlanF
29th December 2007, 22:27
Removed by Owner

Goldie fish
29th December 2007, 23:57
You speak of th epoor conditions that existed there in 1980, however up to very recently the same conditions still existed in Kilworth and the Glen of Imaal.

AlanF
30th December 2007, 16:35
Removed by Owner

moonstomper
30th December 2007, 18:24
Have to agree with AlanF. Did recruits at roughly the same time as him. Joined up at Finner and spent a few days doing paperwork there before being sent to Haulbowline. Finner had pretty good billets so the Arch billets at Haulbowline were a bit of a comedown. But Haulbowline was good in other ways. Spike was unique in that every facility, billets, showers, galley, canteen etc was primitive. Apart from the odd film show in Mitchell Hall there was nothing to distract from bulling boots. I'd been in Dunree on an FCA camp and it was much the same, but at least Dunree wasn't on an island and you left after a few weeks.

Of course a bit of hardship does no harm at that age. Remember being sent, with some other recruits, to help two civvys delivering chairs to the Officers Mess for some function. After we'd finished one of them said to me " So are you lads all prisoners then?". Looking round I could see what he meant and I can only assume he later became Minister for Justice and remembered Spike.
Found an old photo taken behind the billets which gives a flavour of the place

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg291/seamushilley/Scan10009.jpg

Test Pilot
30th December 2007, 19:16
Here is more! 1981

trellheim
30th December 2007, 19:26
There are some wonderful Spike pics in one of the old threads ... go have a search around .,..

moonstomper
30th December 2007, 19:43
Great pictures alright.

Met some very interesting people in recruits in those day, who I suspect wouldn't get in nowadays. There was a bloke in my class who had been in the Army. He'd got into some trouble there, did a few months in the digger, and had been dscharged. He then got into trouble in civvy street and ended up in St. Pats.
When he left there he joined the NS using his twin brothers birth certificate. He was sent to Spike for training, and as our billet was right below the detention barracks, lived in daily fear of being recognised. But as he was pretty quick with his fists he soon ended up in trouble again and on the third time was, unusually enough for a recruit, sent to the digger again. Once in there he was recognised, and despite maintaining to be his brother, they started to investigate his identity. Bizarrely enough he was allowed to pass out, but one morning he just didn't appear on divisions and was never heard from again.
I'd really love to know what became of him as he was a very interesting character. I hope he did well for himself.

hptmurphy
30th December 2007, 23:23
recognise one or two of those...still serving I believe.

AlanF
31st December 2007, 13:38
Removed by Owner

golden rivet
31st December 2007, 13:38
recognise one or two of those...still serving I believe. I think eamonn kennedy is the only one left the rest are gone

golden rivet
31st December 2007, 13:43
alan will probably deal with the resident cats but my meomery of them was one asleep in the cornflakes.. we had to eat as there was nothing else..

Goldie fish
31st December 2007, 14:53
I always remember how the Dept of Justice had to UPGRADE the accomodation to use it as a prison. And shortly after the Prisoners decided they would burn down the accomodation block. The result of that was the building of a proper closed prison accomodation block(up to then it had been "open" prison). I think the Burnt out block was never repaired. The earlier block had been burnt down when the Island had been used for Internment I believe.

Test Pilot
31st December 2007, 20:38
alan will probably deal with the resident cats but my meomery of them was one asleep in the cornflakes.. .

Ha! Ha! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: Typical of the place!

I do recall spending my time in the lower billets under the 'digger'. It was a dark, dank place with steel frame beds and a stone vaulted ceiling. I recall that the room (or vault) next door was kept sealed, as no one would sleep there as it was haunted. That place realy had some troubled spirits!:eek: :eek: :eek:
Come to think of it they wer'nt all locked up in that room!

AlanF
1st January 2008, 17:18
Removed by Owner

hptmurphy
1st January 2008, 23:54
tea dispenser and filled your cup with a concoction that did not even resemble tea, it was so strong that a mouse could walk across it, but it was warm.



and filled to the brim with sugar..wheteher you took sugar or not

I think the same tea must have been used in Haulbowline five years later and just topped up..never saw the urn being washed out....sound familiar?

AlanF
2nd January 2008, 10:19
Removed by Owner

YankeeHotelFoxtrot
2nd January 2008, 17:36
I think eamonn kennedy is the only one left the rest are gone

Eamon is gone too. I think Robbie French was the last one to leave, that was only a couple years ago.

Test Pilot
2nd January 2008, 18:33
Prior to his internment John Mitchell had set up his own Newspaper the “United Irishman” where he had called for rebellion against British Rule.

In 1853 John Mitchell set up a Newspaper the “Southern Citizen” as a platform for pro-slavery.

.

Strange, that having been under the 'slavery' of the crown while in Ireland, he ended up as pro-slavery in the States.

He has just gone down in my estimation.

Laners
2nd January 2008, 22:41
He served out his time in Bermuda of all places and was put to work building the fortifications of the Island , just imagine he may have laid a few of the blocks for the quay the we docked at on Ireland Island with Eithne on that first trip to the States

Test Pilot
3rd January 2008, 12:56
Eamon is gone too. I think Robbie French was the last one to leave, that was only a couple years ago.

Yes, Eamon went in 'technicolor' !

YankeeHotelFoxtrot
3rd January 2008, 15:52
Yes, Eamon went in 'technicolor' !

Eamon was sound. Quiet and very polite and then a mad bugger with drink in him!

Goldie fish
3rd January 2008, 19:46
Eamon was sound. Quiet and very polite and then a mad bugger with drink in him!

Given that this individual may be reading this page, do you have his permission to tell the world this about him?


Folks, can I ask that you please be careful what you say about individuals on the site. Particularly if you are going to use their names in the post. Keep in mind that this message can be read by anyone, and you may be unintentionally slandering somebody.

golden rivet
3rd January 2008, 20:57
Given that this individual may be reading this page, do you have his permission to tell the world this about him?


Folks, can I ask that you please be careful what you say about individuals on the site. Particularly if you are going to use their names in the post. Keep in mind that this message can be read by anyone, and you may be unintentionally slandering somebody.:biggrin: any one who was in the navy has no secrets no dodging home out the barrack gate with us .. as on a ship we could not run away from anyone and if you got up to any (adventures) which we all did,, you had to face the music..

Goldie fish
3rd January 2008, 21:12
I don't care.
We had a complaint already to this site from someone whose name was used on this site, he heard about it, the base heard about it, the base called him. Asked why.

Remember just because you enjoyed it 20 years ago doesnt mean you would be proud of it, or the fact it is being broadcast accross the net.

yooklid
3rd January 2008, 22:16
If you need Goldie's point hammered home, bear in mind that I'm reading this in an office in San Francisco. Everyones secrets are gone well beyond the ship or the barrack gate at this point.

AlanF
3rd January 2008, 22:37
Removed by Owner

theseaghost
7th January 2008, 11:52
More horror stories than memories

golden rivet
7th January 2008, 16:16
More horror stories than memories
:confused: lets hear them

AlanF
7th January 2008, 17:18
Removed by Owner

AlanF
8th January 2008, 16:44
Removed by Owner

Goldie fish
6th February 2008, 22:59
Former WO Michael Martin has just launched a book on the history of Spike Island. It should be available in some bookshops as well as the Tourist office in Cobh.

Test Pilot
7th February 2008, 12:14
Former WO Michael Martin has just launched a book on the history of Spike Island. It should be available in some bookshops as well as the Tourist office in Cobh.

Some of the locals from Spike Island.:biggrin:

madmark
7th February 2008, 12:38
what being done with spike now? ie in army hand or civvie

mattydread
7th February 2008, 17:21
what being done with spike now? ie in army hand or civvie

Its been out of the Defence Forces since 1984-85 approx when it went over to the DEpartment of Justice. They housed non-serious? (is there such a thing??) offenders there.
I was on Eithne the night they (prisoners)tried to burn the place down. I was the searider cox'n ferrying the army lads and police back and forth. They were bricking it!!
Since then is has remained a prison. last year '07 they closed the prison, and a successful campaign by ex W.O. Mick Martin was run to stop the Dept of Justice reopening it as a serious offenders unit and make it into a heritage site like the infamous "Alcatraz" Spike has a way better\longer\more colourful history than Alcatraz anyway. So hopefully that is what will happen.
This is what I understand is what is happening anyway.
See here, http://www.irish-architecture.com/news/2007/000109.html
i thought I knew the Spike Island campaign web site, but I don't.

golden rivet
7th February 2008, 22:45
Its been out of the Defence Forces since 1984-85 approx when it went over to the DEpartment of Justice. They housed non-serious? (is there such a thing??) offenders there.
I was on Eithne the night they (prisoners)tried to burn the place down. I was the searider cox'n ferrying the army lads and police back and forth. They were bricking it!!
Since then is has remained a prison. last year '07 they closed the prison, and a successful campaign by ex W.O. Mick Martin was run to stop the Dept of Justice reopening it as a serious offenders unit and make it into a heritage site like the infamous "Alcatraz" Spike has a way better\longer\more colourful history than Alcatraz anyway. So hopefully that is what will happen.
This is what I understand is what is happening anyway.
See here, http://www.irish-architecture.com/news/2007/000109.html
i thought I knew the Spike Island campaign web site, but I don't.
:smile: non serious are called SHAMS in cork they stand out with the mg track suits and the little bit of hair on the forehead oiled .. a gentle sort of creature really...

hptmurphy
7th February 2008, 22:55
I was just out of recruits when the inmates went mental again in '86...we were on the square queueing for riot gear..got as far as the boats when it was called off...so dissapointed.

golden rivet
8th February 2008, 19:30
I was just out of recruits when the inmates went mental again in '86...we were on the square queueing for riot gear..got as far as the boats when it was called off...so dissapointed.:biggrin: take a deep breath in and hold.. now relax and breathe slowly....

YankeeHotelFoxtrot
8th February 2008, 20:23
I was just out of recruits when the inmates went mental again in '86...we were on the square queueing for riot gear..got as far as the boats when it was called off...so dissapointed.

I was on QM in the basin that day. Was it a Saturday? I seem to remember it being a quiet day, weekend type of day.

hptmurphy
8th February 2008, 23:08
Ah we just went into Cobh and had a few pints in the 'Well House ' to mask our dissapointment.

Goldie fish
9th February 2008, 02:52
Definitely a saturday. Was in Cobh myself watching the masses forming on the Pier in Cobh. The families being turned away from visits....

Test Pilot
9th February 2008, 13:41
Former WO Michael Martin has just launched a book on the history of Spike Island. It should be available in some bookshops as well as the Tourist office in Cobh.

A view of Spike, no longer there. 11 pdr. battery. 1981.

Goldie fish
9th February 2008, 18:21
Those six Pounders are In Whitegate now. Moved there in 88/89

Test Pilot
13th February 2008, 11:32
Those six Pounders are In Whitegate now. Moved there in 88/89

Where are they in Whitegate?

golden rivet
13th February 2008, 11:48
Where are they in Whitegate? we were with ones from whitegate once they were bigger than six pounders:smile:

Goldie fish
13th February 2008, 16:00
Saluting Battery in Ford Davis. Along the waterfront, Near what was once the officers mess. By the Arch?

Test Pilot
14th February 2008, 19:30
It must be the three covered guns in the background so!

Goldie fish
14th February 2008, 19:34
yup, i had a photo of them somewhere.... cant find

GoneToTheCanner
14th February 2008, 22:13
Were they the guns mounted right down at the waterline, in individual casements?
regards
GttC

Test Pilot
15th February 2008, 11:11
Were they the guns mounted right down at the waterline, in individual casements?
regards
GttC

No there were larger caliber guns fitted there, including the so called 'Disappearing Gun' , the MonCrief. It was on a horizontal pivot so that the gun crew could winch the barrel up to look over the parapet (when are the mods going to fit spell check) When the gun was fired the recoil would bring the gun back to the lowered position safely behing the parapet. The pivots, rails and curved parapet are still there.
Check out this link.
http://www.navyandmarine.org/ondeck/1880DisappearingGuns.htm

Test Pilot
15th February 2008, 11:28
Here is the actual Montcrief battery and access tunnels. The Pivot, traversing rails and curved parapet can be clearly seen and compared with the drawings shown in the link in the previous post.

Goldie fish
15th February 2008, 20:01
My understanding is the Moncriefs were only actually fitted in Fort Westmoreland, as even back in the 1800s, the military suffered cutbacks.

Test Pilot
15th February 2008, 23:37
My understanding is the Moncriefs were only actually fitted in Fort Westmoreland, as even back in the 1800s, the military suffered cutbacks.

There is a reference (Paul M. Kerrigan) to Moncreiefs being fitted in Westmorland around 1860, but there is no indiciation as to which bastions had them nor the number fitted.

There is however a number of references to the Moncriefs being fitted at Camden and Carlisle. They had 7'' RML's fitted by 1870.

If you look at the first pic of the Moncrief battery above, you can see that the 'pivot' and the inner and outer traversing rails are exactly as per the drawing (2) in the web link, also above. Likewise the curve on the inner casemate also matches the Montcrief illustration.

Below this level were the casemated batteries at water level, which had four 10'' guns fitted in 1873. These were protected by a masonry wall with an iron shield, nearly two feet thick. This shield was constructed by useing layers of iron plate and other materials, including a rope layer. They can still be seen today.

Goldie fish
26th February 2008, 23:25
Currently Reading Michael Martin's book on the Island, "Spike Island: Saints Felons and famine".
More about the History of the island from the first settlement and its various uses over the years. A small enough book for the price, but loads of information too in its 100 pages..
Worth the trouble.

Test Pilot
31st March 2008, 19:12
Currently Reading Michael Martin's book on the Island, "Spike Island: Saints Felons and famine".
More about the History of the island from the first settlement and its various uses over the years. A small enough book for the price, but loads of information too in its 100 pages..
Worth the trouble.

Here is some pics to go with the book!

As Spike is no longer a prison, these photos should not be an issue anymore. One is of Spike as it is now, again abandoned. Pic 2 is where we used to be billetted. Note the false windows in the top level.
If anyone would like a pic of a particular part, insided or outside of the fort, let me know.

rosser
31st March 2008, 23:24
Would it not be amazeing to have Spike restored as a Naval Base, the island is fantastic although I have no wish to go back to the old days, but what a location.

Again great pics TestP great to see an active interest taken in our heritage.

Goldie fish
31st March 2008, 23:32
Its not much good as a naval base, not having a useful pier. It was designed as a 19th century fortress.

rosser
31st March 2008, 23:45
LOL I think i might have not worded that correctly now about a Defence Forces Training Establishment for all the non shippy types of work that we do and It was just a thought in passing.

Connaught Stranger
1st April 2008, 07:37
Here is some pics to go with the book!

As Spike is no longer a prison, these photos should not be an issue anymore. One is of Spike as it is now, again abandoned. Pic 2 is where we used to be billetted. Note the false windows in the top level.
If anyone would like a pic of a particular part, insided or outside of the fort, let me know.

With reference the Photo: Spike Old Billitt's: Am I correct in guessing the grey covered semi round items on the right side of the roof are water tanks?? They remind me of structures seen on the hill above Finner Camp made out of cast Iron for the Gravity fed Camp water system.

Connaught Stranger:smile:

Test Pilot
1st April 2008, 08:46
With reference the Photo: Spike Old Billitt's: Am I correct in guessing the grey covered semi round items on the right side of the roof are water tanks?? They remind me of structures seen on the hill above Finner Camp made out of cast Iron for the Gravity fed Camp water system.

Connaught Stranger:smile:

Correct, thats exactly what they are, CS.

golden rivet
1st April 2008, 16:20
Correct, thats exactly what they are, CS.
We had a tank like that on the top of the martello tower and we swopped it with the admirlty and got a cannon which is in place there now.. that type of tank has a protection order on it as the way they were made and riveted

Connaught Stranger
1st April 2008, 16:36
We had a tank like that on the top of the martello tower and we swopped it with the admirlty and got a cannon which is in place there now.. that type of tank has a protection order on it as the way they were made and riveted

The ones in Finner Camp were demolished in the late 1990s I believe. :frown:

Connaught Stranger:smile:

Test Pilot
7th April 2008, 16:09
I hear that a grant has been made available to carry out an archeological survey of Spike Island! One might think that the island will be dug up, but its more to document and record what is left of the island. Have a look at the attached pic. There is a hidden church with bell tower there.

golden rivet
9th April 2008, 21:54
I hear that a grant has been made available to carry out an archeological survey of Spike Island! One might think that the island will be dug up, but its more to document and record what is left of the island. Have a look at the attached pic. There is a hidden church with bell tower there. is that the recent church or an old monument

Test Pilot
10th April 2008, 10:05
,.

Test Pilot
10th May 2008, 18:59
Above are pics of a recent visit to Spike Island. Included are the main gate as it is now and my old billett in a sad state. I got to have a look in the old magazines and there are still gun parts, range finding equipment stored there. Will post pics of them shortly.

Galway hooker11
1st June 2008, 01:48
one you would be interested in test pilot!! the Gibraltar "stay behind caves" seen an article in ships monthly this month, just google it, fascinating (BUT SCARY) story from WW2.

golden rivet
2nd June 2008, 21:56
one you would be interested in test pilot!! the Gibraltar "stay behind caves" seen an article in ships monthly this month, just google it, fascinating (BUT SCARY) story from WW2. there last year for the day brilliant history interesting the way the guns were all turned towards spain after the claim on the island a real british town red post boxes an all

hptmurphy
2nd June 2008, 22:04
H'mm someone left his billet in a bit of a mess!

turbocalves
2nd June 2008, 22:10
any one know if its possible to visit the place, or is it closed tothe public???
seems like itd make a good day out

Test Pilot
4th June 2008, 18:21
any one know if its possible to visit the place, or is it closed tothe public???
seems like itd make a good day out

Sorry, it's not open to the public just yet. A lot of planning has to be made before this happens. I hope they can get enough support to maintain the island as it is at present until it can be brought to a standard suitable to take the public.

Galway Hooker, thanks for the info on Gibralter. I was there two years ago and got to see places where the public don't see. Have all the pics! Will put up a few when I get time.

turbocalves
4th June 2008, 19:09
ah well hopefully it will happen soon!

Goldie fish
4th June 2008, 19:46
Fort camden is still semi derelict. If they intend making Spike into a heritage site, they should tidy up Camden too.
Most of Crosshaven has had a child concieved there at this stage I recon, and that child usually went on to have his or her first drink somewhere on th efort.

hptmurphy
4th June 2008, 21:59
Most of Crosshaven has had a child concieved there at this stage I recon

Well I have to say on many occassions I had a damn good try at it but apparenttly was non too successful but made up for it with three offspring many years later..none of which had any connection with Crosshaven

Test Pilot
5th June 2008, 19:44
Well I have to say on many occassions I had a damn good try at it but apparenttly was non too successful but made up for it with three offspring many years later..none of which had any connection with Crosshaven

Ye dark horse ye, Murph!:biggrin:

golden rivet
6th June 2008, 19:45
Well I have to say on many occassions I had a damn good try at it but apparenttly was non too successful but made up for it with three offspring many years later..none of which had any connection with Crosshaven:eek::eek: there is two blonde fellows running wild around there at the moment:eek::eek:

Goldie fish
11th August 2008, 05:46
http://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showpost.php?p=216075&postcount=1

Now that is interesting!

Test Pilot
11th August 2008, 17:52
More pics from Spike Island. Some of the 'gun bits' pics came from the magazine. Any sharp eyed gunners or tiffies who know what they are?

There also appeared to be parts from the guns at fort Bearhaven stored here too. Will post more details later.

Laners
11th August 2008, 20:33
Well i guess the bucket in the first pic is for washing up after dinner just like the mess bucket on the Sweepers

Test Pilot
11th August 2008, 21:21
Well i guess the bucket in the first pic is for washing up after dinner just like the mess bucket on the Sweepers

Nope! that's the piss bucket in pic 1:biggrin:.

Laners
12th August 2008, 18:27
Nope! that's the piss bucket in pic 1:biggrin:.

The mess bucket was used for that as well

damo de muff diver
12th August 2008, 20:22
More pics from Spike Island. Some of the 'gun bits' pics came from the magazine. Any sharp eyed gunners or tiffies who know what they are?

There also appeared to be parts from the guns at fort Bearhaven stored here too. Will post more details later.

Is that the cleaning brush for the F`ord heads on Eithne in pic 4.
They have been looking for that for over 20 years. :eek:

WES
28th July 2009, 13:07
It's amazing that no interest was shown in this when we were awash with money but now the idea can be explored when the CC know that they can use the excuse of lack of funding in order to do nothing.


http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/national-news/council-to-explore-tourism-potential-of-spike-island-1844119.html