Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle


Location: 2 km (1.5 mi) East of Cork city Map

Constructed: 16th century


Description of Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle is situated 2 km (1.5 mi) East of Cork city in Cork County in Ireland. Despite its medieval appearance Blackrock Castle was actually constructed in the 16th century during reign of Elizabeth I to protect the shores against pirates and invaders. Today Blackrock Castle is home to "Cosmos at the Castle" a scientific museum devoted to astronomy. Blackrock Castle also contains a restaurant open for the tourists.


At the end of the 16th century, the citizens of Cork petitioned Queen Elizabeth I to build a fort in Blackrock to "fight back pirates and other invaders." In 1582, a fortress was built on this site and around 1600 a round tower was added to provide security against pirates who brought in ships entering the harbor. The earliest part of the building that is still preserved today is the round tower at the water's edge, 10.5 meters thick and 2.2 meters thick.

According to a charter of the English King James I of 1608, the castle belonged to the city of Cork. In 1613 and 1614, the fort is mentioned in the Council Book of Cork. In 1722, the old four-storey tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by the citizens of Cork, costing £ 296.

Throughout this period, Blackrock Castle has been used by the City of Cork for banquets and "festive get-togethers" - some in the tradition of "throwing the arrow". This tradition, which dates back at least to the 18th century, was carried out every three years in August and consisted of the mayor shooting an arrow with a 1.3 meter arc from a boat to the jurisdiction of the city administration over the harbor show.

After a banquet, the fort was destroyed by fire in 1827. Reconstruction began at the behest of Mayor Thomas Dunscombe in 1828 and was completed in March 1829. The architects added three more floors to the original tower and rebuilt the outbuildings. The new building cost the city of Cork £ 1,000. The architects were George Richard Pain and James Pain, who were also responsible for other public buildings of the time at Cork. [10] The neo-Gothic building complex around a courtyard is essentially what has been preserved from the fort today.

In the 20th century, the fort became private for some time and served as a private home, office, headquarters of a rowing club and restaurant. In 2001, Cork city council bought back Blackrock Castle, had it renovated, and converted it into an observatory and museum.

In the early 2000s, Blackrock Castle was rebuilt in collaboration with Cork City Council, the Cork Institute of Technology and a private donor.

The "Cosmos at the Castle" project, opened in 2007, was intended to create a "Center for Scientific Research, Enlargement of the Horizon and Communication". The Observatory houses an interactive astronomy center that is open to the public and features exhibitions such as the "Tour of the Universe" and a radio telescope that allows school-group messages to be sent to nearby stars.

The fort also houses laboratories where astronomers from the Cork Institute of Technology work.