About 2km from the city centre of Cork is the rocky limestone outcrop that Blackrock Castle sits on. It has been a site of fortification since the late 16th century. The original tower was built by the citizens of Cork in 1582 to guard the water approach to the city from pirates and other raiders. The tower also acted as a sentinel to guide shipping safely to and from the port. Indeed the motto on the crest of Cork City above the Latin phrase: “Statio Bene Fida Carinis” means “a safe harbour for ships”.
In the early-2000s, Blackrock Castle was redeveloped into an observatory which intended to create a centre for scientific research, outreach and communication. It houses an interactive astronomy center which is open to the public, and has exhibits including a “tour of the universe” and a radio telescope that beams messages composed by school groups towards nearby stars. The castle also houses labs staffed by astronomical researchers from Cork Institute of Technology. Entry to the Castle includes both Cosmos at the Castle and Journeys of Exploration. An educational tour ideal for kids and adults too.
Blackrock castle is also known for the Mediterranean Castle Cafe Restaurant. With great ambience, service and food – you’ll never go wrong in spending your brunch or lunch or dinner here.