From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
HAWLBOWLING, an island, in the parish of TEMPLEROBIN, barony of BARRYMORE, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 5 a mile (S.) from Cove, in the harbour of Cork; containing, with Rocky Island, 303 inhabitants. This island, called formerly Ennis Shenagh, or Fox Island, was originally fortified by Sir G. Carew, after the defeat of the Spaniards at Kinsale, in 1602; and stores were deposited here, which, on the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Mayor of Cork, with some forces, attempted to seize, refusing any supply to the King's troops. In this attempt many of the citizens were killed, and the remainder returned to Cork and submitted to the authority of James I., whom they had previously refused to proclaim.
In the war of 1641, the island was alternately in the possession of the royalists and parliamentarians, but ultimately submitted to Cromwell in 1649. After the Restoration, the fortress was much neglected, but in 1688 it was seized by the adherents of James II., and remained in their possession till the arrival of an English fleet, in 1690, when it was deserted by the Irish troops and garrisoned by the Earl of Marlborough, on his route to Cork. From this time the island (which comprises about 36 acres, and previously afforded pasture to a few sheep) began to be regarded as a place of importance, and the garrison was carefully kept up till the building of the barracks on Spike Island, in 1806, when it was appropriated to the Boards of Admiralty and Ordnance, by which extensive stores and depots were erected, and it is now the great naval arsenal and ordnance depot of Cork. The eastern portion of it belongs to the Admiralty, and the western to the Ordnance department; in the former are ranges of buildings of very great extent, capable of receiving stores and provisions sufficient for supplying the whole navy of Great Britain for 12 months, and a capacious tank, containing 5000 tons of fresh water.
In Rocky Island is the magazine, consisting of several spacious vaults hewn out of the solid rock, in which are deposited 25,000 barrels of gunpowder, from which the whole of the south of Ireland is supplied. The stairs and landing-places all round the quays are capacious and well constructed; the warehouses are four stories high, roofed with slate and built in a most substantial manner and in a handsome style, on a level hewn out of the rock, which rises abruptly in their rear; but since the breaking up of the victualling establishment they have been disused, and are now under the care of a storekeeper and two other officers belonging to the Admiralty. The buildings belonging to the Ordnance department are the artillery barracks for one officer and 30 men (a detachment from Spike Island), a martello tower, and some other works; they occupy the sides and summit of the rock, and are also disused and under the care of an Ordnance store-keeper and clerks.
The entrance to the island is from the north, opposite to Cove. The Spike sands, which set in close to it, extend more than a mile (E. S. E.), and begin to dry on the north side at half ebb; on this bank are several perches, the chief of which are on the east and north sides; vessels going into Cork must pass on the north side between these sands and the main land. The island, in ecclesiastical arrangements, forms part of the parish of Templerobin, in the diocese of Cloyne; and in the R. C. divisions it belongs to the parish of Monks-town, in the diocese of Cork.