Blackrock Castle Observatory

Blackrock Castle Observatory

Cork City, Co. Cork


Blackrock Castle is a circular watchtower on the banks of the River Lee; it was originally built in 1604. Its purpose was to defend Cork from pirates and from the Spanish, who landed in Kinsale in 1601. The 2.2-meter thick walls were designed to withstand cannon fire (and also to protect the paranoid English lord deputy Mountjoy from the people of Cork, who were reluctant to accept King James I).

This summer, Blackrock Castle becomes Cork City's premier home for the stars. Cork City Council and Cork Institute of Technology unveil an interactive astronomy centre Cosmos at the Castle. This project has been in the works for a while. Its goals are scientific research, outreach, and communication. With an interactive, multimedia tour created by top company Martello Media, visitors can witness the formation of the universe In Search for Extreme Life in the Universe. They can beam messages to outer space with a radio telescope. And they can learn about how optical telescopes search for extraterrestrial life. CIT researchers are working on new, exciting projects, such as robotic telescopes, which will eventually become part of the Cosmos at the Castle experience.

Blackrock Castle Observatory is a Cork City Council and Cork Institute of Technology partnership. Studies will be conducted by researchers from the Astronomy and Instrumentation Group, based within the Department of Applied Physics and Instrumentation at CIT.

How to get there

By car:

From Cork, located on Blackrock road, east of the city centre.

By bus:

Take bus Number 2 bus, departing from Parnell Place across from the bus station, and going through Blackrock Village via Mahon. Ask the bus driver to stop in Blackrock Village, as close to the castle as possible. When you step off the bus, turn left and follow the river, keeping it on your left at all times. It is about a five-minute walk.

Opening times

Monday to Friday: 10AM to 5PM

Weekends: 11AM to 5PM (including Bank Holidays)

Last admission is at 4PM.


Tel: +353 (0)21 4357917



Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007


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