The former fort and notorious prison in Cork harbour, once known as ‘Hell on Earth’, has become an award-winning attraction
We disembarked at the long pier and walked to the star-shaped fort along a steep, twisting path. The smooth slopes rising up to the formidable ramparts and entrance gate, we are told by our guide, form a glacis, a feat of military engineering that leaves attackers exposed and makes defence far easier.
On this cold, clear day, with a low afternoon sun casting soft shadows, it was easy to overlook the enormity of this construction in Cork harbour – and the dark reality of Spike Island fort and prison itself. Until we learned that the vast banks surrounding the 24-acre fort were actually built in the 1850s by the inmates themselves.
The extreme northern coast of Norway is an unspoilt land of wonder, and the perfect place to enjoy the eternal dawn
Plus three more adventures in the midnight sun
Midnight. Morning. A shard of sun cuts through the cloud. Due north, not east, from my lighthouse. Gulls scream below us as they circle Flatøy fyr, our uninhabited island near Nordskot, northern Norway. We are on our own here for a few days, just me and the photographer Howard Sooley. We are 300km inside the Arctic Circle. Standing on top of the world.
I have been getting up around dawn for a year or more, absorbing the daybreak and recording it. I am writing a book, a manifesto for morning, about why it means so much to me, the change from night to light, making time to be (by) yourself. So I’ve come north for the summer solstice to see if there can be dawn without dark, if morning needs the night-time at all.