Cobh is located in the south of Ireland approximately 22 km from Cork city. It has a lot of history to explore and is well known as the ill fated Titanic’s last port of call in 1912. The town was previously known as Queenstown after a visit from Queen Victoria in 1849 but reverted back to its old Irish name in 1922. During the famine years many families left Ireland and set sail from Cobh’s ports hoping for a better life in America. Unfortunately many died on the journey as the travelling conditions were terrible at that time. Today Cobh has a dedicated area for cruise liners and have many stop off during the Summer season.
On the 7th of May in 1915 a British ocean liner passenger ship named RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U boat 11 miles off the southern coast of Cork. The torpedo killed 1193 on board and leaving hundreds of survivors stranded in lifeboats. The people of Cobh see the devastation caused first hand. Some of the recovered victims of the Lusitania are buried in Cobh.
Things To Do In Cobh
1 – Visit Spike Island
Spike Island is just a 15 minute scenic boat trip off the coast of Kennedy pier in Cobh. It was originally the site of a monastic settlement and throughout the last 1300 years was also used as a fortress and more recently a prison. It is made of 104 acres with tunnels and a 24 acre star shaped fortress. Spike Island has had a dark past and shipped thousands of people to America and Australia from the prison. The island was used by the Irish and British army for a time before again becoming a prison in the late 1980’s before closing in 2004. In September 1985 the prisoners rioted and ‘block A’ caught fire. It is now known as the ‘burnt block’. Being an island prison earned it the name Ireland’s Alcatraz. Spike Island is now an increasingly popular tourist destination.
2 – The Titanic Experience Cobh
The Titanic Experience Cobh is located in the heart of the town. It is housed in the original White Star ticket office. During your visit you will experience a guided 30 minute element of life on board the ship and compare the conditions for first class and third class cabins. Afterwards you are free to take your time and explore the exhibition area. If you want to take a step back in time and get a great inside into the history of the Titanic this is just for you!
3 – St.Colman’s Cathedral
St.Colmans Cathedral in Cobh stands at 90 metres and overlooks Cork harbour. The Cathedral construction began in 1868 but was not completed until half a century later and finally opened in 1911. The tower contains a carillon with 49 bells making it one of the largest in Europe.
4 – Cobh Heritage Centre
Explore many of Cobh’s historic stories in the towns Heritage centre. Their dramatic exhibition brings the towns history, origins and legacy to life. Here you will learn the interesting history and information on Irish emigration as well as history about the tragic sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania ships as Cobh was the single most important port during emigration in Ireland. Many tourists visit here in Summer and Winter seasons. The museum’s exhibits are informative with a lot of visuals and a great viewing experience.
5 – Take A Picture At The Annie Moore Statue
Annie Moore was an Irish immigrant from county Cork who was the first to pass through the United States federal immigrant inspection at the Ellis Island station in New York harbour. Because she was the first to pass through the facility that opened in 1892 she made history and was awarded the American 10 dollar gold piece from officials. She travelled to the United States with her two brothers on the Nevada steamship where her parents had already settled a few years beforehand. Annie Moore’s statue with her two brothers stands at the waterfront in Cobh. Interestingly a statue very similar to this one is also on Ellis Island in New York.
6 – Visit Cobh Museum
Cobh museum is located in the former Presbyterian Scots church that was built in 1854. The building is a Gothic revival with a stepped tower and limestone spire. Here you will find a lot of the towns history. It is overlooking Cork’s harbour and a real little hidden gem.
7 – Walk the Titanic Trail
If you would like to discover the history of the Titanic, there is a very interesting 1 hour walking tour available where you can visit locations that are directly connected to the ill fated ship. For example original buildings, piers and streets that are associated with it. Along the way you can also learn other aspects related to Cork’s harbour and the rich heritage of Ireland.
8 – Hop Aboard Cobh’s Road Train
Take a trip onboard Cobh’s road train and tour the panoramic historical town at ease.It departs the point where the Titanic’s passengers boarded the ill fated ship and includes a stop at the magnificent Neo Gothic St. Coleman’s Cathedral. It is ideal for all ages especially children as it is designed like ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’. It is also an excellent trip to learn the history of Cobh town.
9 – Enjoy The Harbour Views
Cobh Harbour is enriched with history. A stroll along the harbour is recommended and of course this is also where the Annie Moore statue is located. Boat trips are available tasing you along the coast where many people boarded and this was often their last view of home before emigrating from the Famine in the 19th century. Take in the views of the colourful hillside town and today’s luxury cruise liners.
10 – Cobh On A Friday? Visit The Farmers Market
If you are lucky enough to be in Cobh on a Friday why not visit the farmer’s market on the sea front. At the market there is an exciting selection of stalls selling fresh foods and local produce. Enjoy the market’s atmosphere and browse through the beautiful crafts and flowers along with international flavours. It is open every Friday from 10am until 2pm.
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