Spike Island - a window to the past

During the 2013 excavation of Spike Island, 23 undergraduate students from UCC and from various universities in North America unearthed a valuable and previously unknown picture of the 19th century convict prison that operated on the island from 1847 until 1883. As part of an online collaboration between UCC and the Irish Examiner this special section will - for the first time - broadcast a five part documentary film produced by the Department of Archaeology, University College Cork. The film was directed by Dr Barra O'Donnabhain. Stephen Bean is the cameraman and director behind the documentary.

Spike Island - a window to the past

Episode Five - The Convict Burial Ground

In this episode we see how burial grounds on Spike island have revealed a truly harsh period in Irish history.

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Episode Four - The Punishment Block

The Punishment block, now called the Mitchell block, is the only purpose built building in the prison complex on Spike island and gives a horrifying insight into how debtors were treated in prisons, given Ireland's circumstances today!) This story is enriched with multi-media content

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Episode Three - The Student Experience

In this episode we get a fascinating lived experience into what it is like to be an archaeologist living and working on the island. This story is enriched with multi-media content

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Episode Two - Convict Life

In the second episode we get an understanding of the prisoner classification system and see how the remnants of a letter suggesting that authorities payed off political prisoners to go into exile rather then let them die, lest they become martyrs. This story is enriched with multi-media content

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Episode One - The Island prison from 1847-1883

In the opening episode we find out how the idea for this innovative excavation project emerged and how it has allowed us to gain some understanding of the daily life of a convict, the role of religious objects in that life and the hopes that sustained convicts in hopeless surroundings. This story is enriched with multi-media content

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