Home » Books



Spike Island – The residents, rebels and crafty criminals of Ireland’s historic island

A monastic outpost in the Celtic Sea, a fortress built to defend an Empire, a prison established to intern a nation; Spike Island’s remarkable 1300-year history far exceeds its modest acreage.

No other place better encapsulates the Irish story. Spike Island tells of religious fervour, frequent rebellion, social endeavour, and a nation’s inextinguishable yearning for freedom. After 206 years off-limits to the public, its secrets can finally be divulged.

The island has garnered international attention many times, such as the famine-era prison overcrowding and inhumane conditions, the triumphant 1938 handover of the island from Britain to Ireland, and the violent prison riot in 1985.

Spike Island echoes with the voices of prisoners past, having housed fierce rebels like John Mitchel, who would inspire the 1916 generation, and 1200 Republicans during the War of Independence. More recent arrivals include the notorious crime boss The General, who terrorized 1980’s Ireland.

Told in an entertaining and accessible chronological style featuring accounts from island dwellers and the interned alike, this book is sure to captivate anyone interested in Irish history.

The book is the first to include interviews with former residents, soldiers, prisoners and prison officers, opening a new chapter in Cork and Ireland’s history.

104 acre Spike Island Cork – Subject of John’s book – Spike Island – The residents, rebels and crafty criminals of Ireland’s historic island.

Famous inmates in the book…


Further titles on Irish history commenced, detail to follow…