Cobh (formerly Queenstown) is a pretty seaside town in County Cork, Ireland . It is steeped in history and is an ideal place in which to stay to explore all that the town, Cork Harbour and East Cork has to offer.
Commanding panoramic views of one of the finest natural harbours in the world, the tiny fishing village of Cobh (the cove of Cork) was virtually unknown up to the early 1800s.
With the advent of the French Revolutinary and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), Cork Harbour became an important refuelling and assembly point for naval and commercial ships. Up to 300 ships at a time could be seen at anchors in the waters of Cobh!
HMS Titanic’s last Port of call
Cobh was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. These included Annie Moore and her two brothers – the first immigrants to be processed on Ellis Island in New York. On 11 April 1912 Queenstown was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
The RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat off the Old Head of Kinsale on May 7, 1915. The survivors were brought to the town of Cobh, and over one hundred victims lie buried in the Old Church Cemetery about a mile north of the town. And for all the British people, famous boxer, entertainer, wrestler and playboy Jack Doyle is also buried in this cemetery.
Cobh is a lot of fun too
Cobh is a pretty town built on a steep hill on Great Island in Cork Harbour. It is just 20 minutes from Cork city and there are hourly rail connections to and from the city.
The town’s architecture and streetscape is distinctly Victorian. St. Colman’s Cathedral dominates the town. It’s 49-bell Carillon is the only such instrument in Ireland and is the largest in Ireland and Britain. Cobh has a range of tourist accommodation including Bed and Breakfasts, self catering and small and mid sized Hotels. There are many restaurants and cafes catering for all tastes close to the town centre.
Attractions for tourists include shore and lake fishing, sailing and water sports, bird watching and countless sites of historical interest and importance. Harbour Boat trips and sea angling excursions are also available. Fota House, Gardens and Wildlife Park are located on the road to Cobh.
The Titanic Trail walking tour departs daily throughout the year. The Queenstown Story Heritage centre is located in the Victorian Railway station near the town centre and next to the Cobh Cruise Liner Terminal.
Popular port for cruiselines
Over 50 Cruise Liners, including the largest liners in the World visit Cobh each year and berth a mere 200 metres from the town centre. The Sirius Arts Centre has free exhibitions throughout the year and shares the original home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club with the Cobh Tourist Office. The Coral Leisure Centre at Carrignafoy in the town has state of the art facilities. There are many Golf Courses located throughout East Cork.
Cobh has many festivals and commemorations throughout the year. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place at 3.30pm on 17th March. The sinking of the Titanic is commemorated in April and the Lusitania in May. The South of Ireland Festival of Piping and Drumming takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend. The historical raising by Taoiseach Eamon De Valera, for the first time, of the Irish Tricolour on Spike Island in July 1938 as part of the Treaty Ports handover by the British is re-enacted in July. The Cobh Peoples’ Regatta takes place in August with a feast of entertainment both on and off the water. The Festival of the Blues and the International Sea Angling Festival take place in September. Something for everyone.
For me, Cobh is a wonderfully quaint town, not too big and not too small. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name and you’ll get accustomed to the relatively quiet life you will be living. I don’t really like large towns or cities because there are just too many people around. Too many cars, hence too many traffic jams, so the thought of small ships, fishing boats and cruiseliners docking not far from the town center, makes it all the more worth it to be living in a town steeped in rich history and the sea life passing you each and every day of the year. My kind of life. Simple yet colourful in it’s own way.