CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory
CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory (CITBCO) is a 16th century Castle located 4km from the heart of Cork city on the banks of the river Lee. It was built by the citizens of Cork in 1582 as a watch tower and fort to guard the river entrance against pirates and other invaders. 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”.
While a few remains of the original building still stand, most of it was destroyed in a fire in 1827 and replaced with the current structure that was completed in 1829. While the castle was used for a variety of purposes throughout the ages, it now serves as Ireland’s first fully interactive astronomy centre, which is open to the public.
CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory Attractions
Cosmos At The Castle
Today the Castle is a science centre and is home to Cosmos at the Castle, an award winning interactive astronomy exhibition which highlights recent scientific discoveries and their implications for life in outer space.
While at the Castle you can enjoy daily planetarium shows to learn about the wonders of the night sky, send a Message to Space at the Pan Galactic Station and play the The Comet Chaserto save the Earth.
Behind the scenes guided tours will bring the past present and future together and take you down to the Dungeon, a National Monument out on to the turret where you can take in views of Cork Harbour. These tours are at specific times only so please call ahead to confirm.
At Blackrock Castle you will find a working professional astronomical observatory, staffed by researchers from CIT engaged in searching for new planets around distant stars using telescopes at CITBCO and abroad. The integration of the public exhibition and the astronomical observatory makes BCO a unique national research and education centre.
Family Fun Tip:- Please Note there is NO public access to BCO Labs as it is a full-time research facility.
Open to the public seven days a week.
- Monday to Friday: 10.00 to 17.00.
- Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays: 11.00 to 17:00.
- Opening times subject to change
Blackrock Castle Admission Rates
- Adult: €6.50
- Children under 5 are free with families.
- Child / student / senior: €4.50.
- Family: €18.00
- Groups €5.50
Prices subject to change
Kids Birthday Parties At The Blackrock Castle
A space-themed & fun-filled birthday unlike any other!
Science Magic Party
A 2 hour package for kids ages 4 – 6 years
Astronomer and scientist staff will deliver an hour long, age-appropriate workshop based on science magic! The workshop is followed by a Planetarium show appropriate for your children and a treasure hunt around our C16th Castle.
After all that fun, your party can have exclusive use of the MakeSpace room for your presents, cake and snacks.
Cosmic Birthday Party
A 2 hour package for kids ages 7 – 12 years
Astronomers and scientist staff will deliver an hour long, age-appropriate workshop based on aliens or rockets, exclusively for your guests. The workshop is followed by a guided visit to the award winning interactive exhibit Cosmos at the Castle, complete with activities like a visit to the new Planetarium and the Pan Galactic Station!
After a tour of the C16th Castle, your party can have exclusive use of their MakeSpace room for your presents, cake and snacks.
Party Costs and Options
- €10.00 per child; minimum booking requirement of 10 children.
- A €100 deposit is required to secure your booking. Bookings remain provisional until this is received.
- If more than 10 children attend the reminder balance of €10/extra child is payable on the day.
- The Castle Cafe can provide kiddies meals at an additional cost of €6.00/child. Options include homemade chicken goujons, chips or pizza with squash served in MakeSpace. This needs to be booked with and paid directly to the restaurant.
- Alternatively, you are more than welcome to bring in your own food which you can set-up in MakeSpace while the children are in the exhibit space.
Please note: Food cannot be brought in from a 3rd party vendor like McDonalds, Dominos etc
Family Fun Tip:- They have space themed birthday invites that they can email to you to either print at home and post or email to your guests.
Goodie Bags:- They offer all birthday parties a 10% discount on the stock in their shop to fill your goodie bags with. But they do not supply the actual bags.
Directions To CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory Cork
If you are driving to the Castle, you can get directions from google maps at top of page. Follow the Blackrock road to Blackrock village. Up the hill at Castle Road to the castle.
- By Bus
Take number 2 bus to Blackrock. This departs from Parnell Place (next to the bus station) Ask the bus driver to stop at St Lukes, a 5 minute walk along the river to the Castle. St. Lukes is on the north bank of the river Lee and Blackrock castle on the south bank
- By Taxi
DS Cabs have a special rate for visitors to Blackrock Castle. Ph. 021-4847888.
Blackrock Castle Observatory Cork GPS location is 51.89988, -8.40287