The town of Cobh (formerly Queenstown) ascends from the sea and splendidly dominates Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. This historical area has experienced invasion, emigration, transportation and offers a wealth of maritime heritage.
It was the last port of call of RMS Titanic on 11th April 1912. St Colman’s Cathedral overlooks the brightly coloured streets and the islands of Haulbowline and Spike. The deepwater quay provides the perfect cruise liner berth for dozens of visiting ships each year and continues to attract world famous vessels such as the QE2 and the Independence of the Seas. The overarching history of the area is best explored on the Titanic Trail daily guided walking tour and the best sea perspective can be had by hiring a boat from the Cork Harbour Boat Hire.
Places of Interest around Cobh
St. Colman’s Cathedral
Started in 1868, the building of this Cathedral took over 50 years to complete. It was designed in a French neo Gothic style and contains magnificent examples of stained glass windows, marble carving and stonework. The spire is 91 metres (300 ft.) tall and contains a 49 bell carillon.
Cobh Civic & Maritime Museum
Formerly a Scots Presbyterian church, Cobh Museum contains a wide collection of artifacts reflecting the great maritime and civic history of the town. The museum offers research facilities and holds a number of old passengers lists of ships that set out from Cork Harbour.
John F. Kennedy Park
This promenade on the water’s edge is a favourite place for locals and visitors to relax. The bandstand is located near the spot where Queen Victoria stepped ashore in Ireland for the first time in August 1849. During the summer months regular band and music recitals take place there. The 2 cannons in the promenade were returned from the Boer and Crimean Wars in 1899 and 1854 respectively.
Get the best insight into this intriguing island on the Spike Island guided walking tour. Departures at 2pm daily: June – September. Book online at www.titanic.ie. Group tours also available year round. Call 021 4815211.
Unveiled in 1998, the bronze plaque was designed and crafted by local artist Mr. Michael Donovan. Millvina Dean youngest survivor of the Titanic was present at the unveiling.
This delightful garden is attached to a contemplative monastery run by the Benedictine Order of Nuns. There are interesting views of the Harbour and the Cathedral from here. The gardens are set out in a biblical theme and provide a serenity of location that many visitors enjoy.
Queenstown Story Heritage Centre/ Railway Station
This station which provides a rail link to Cork City has been in continual operation since 1862. It also houses one of Ireland’s finest heritage centres. The history of emigration, famine and transatlantic maritime travel is retold in a multi audio visual display. The centre recently opened a new permanent Titanic exhibition.
Old Church (Clonmel) Cemetary
This cemetery about 1.5 kms from the centre of the contains the graves of many local notables and ordinary people of Cobh. There is also several mass graves there including the Lusitania plots a total of 169 of the victims are buried here in three mass graves and a number of individual plots.
The Jameson Experience
The Old Midleton Distillery is where distilling took place from 1825 until 1975. Learn how Jameson became the worlds largest selling Irish whiskey. A guided tour includes a visit to the grain stores, water wheel building, and still house where you will see the largest pot still in the world. Taste the famous Jameson brand after your tour and maybe become a certified Irish whiskey taster! The Malt House Restaurant and Jameson Gift Shop are open all year round. Tours 7 days a week, all year. Call for exact times 021 4613594.
Activities To Enjoy
The Lusitania was a magnificent ship, whose speed secured the Blue Riband in 1907 when she crossed the Atlantic in 4 days, 19 hours and 52 minutes. On May 7th 1915 the Cunard liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U Boat 10 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, 25 miles west of Queenstown, (now na med Cobh).
Of the 1,959 people on board 1,198 died. Those who survived were brought to Queenstown and Kinsale by rescue vessels and cared for in local hotels, hospitals, lodging houses and private houses. Once damaged the Lusitania quickly listed to one side making it difficult to launch lifeboats. In less than half an hour the Lusitania had sunk leaving hundreds struggling in the water and clambering for lifeboats. The American Consul, Wesley Frost and the Cunard Agent, Jerome Murphy were notable amongst those working tirelessly to cope with the disaster. Officials tried to compile lists of survivors as pleas for information flooded in to the port. Meanwhile, the bodies of the victims were lined up on the Cunard Pier and in the temporary morgues at the Town Hall and in a shed on the quays. Some survivors left Queenstown as soon as they were able, others remained in the town because of their injuries or in the hope that news could be found of a missing relative. Three days after the Lusitania went down nearly 1,150 of her victims were buried in mass graves in Clonmel graveyard, two miles north of Queenstown; 80 of them were never identified. The Lusitania was built in 1907 in Glasgow, her regular route was Liverpool – Queenstown – New York, but on her last voyage had not intended to call to Queenstown.
Lusitania Peace Memorial
The Lusitania Peace Memorial was designed by an Irish-American sculptor Jerome Connor (1876-1943). It commemorates the great loss of life on the Lusitania but also the bravery of the rescue workers whose numbers included fishermen. A recently published book by Dr Michael Martin entitled ‘RMS Lusitania, it wasn’t ‘ and it didn’t’ provides amazing insight into new perspective on an old story.
The Port of Cork
The Port of Cork handles some of the largest liners in the world at their cruise berth in Cobh, Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth. Each year on average 50 liners call to Cobh bringing in excess of 100,000 passengers and crew to the local town of Cobh, Cork City and the wider Cork region. Passengers from all over the world travel by cruise liner to Cobh. A cruise call at the Port of Cork provides passengers with the ultimate cruise experience arriving into Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Once all the local attractions are visited a return visit is inevitable. www.portofcork.ie
Fota House & Gardens
Carrigtwohill, County Cork – A magnificent regency period house with beautiful formal gardens and world renowned arboretum of rare trees and plants. Daily guided tours of the House operate from March to September. Throughout the year there are monthly events and concerts. Check out www.fotahouse.com for updates on current offerings. Booking required in the winter months. T. 021 481 5543 or email@example.com Gardens are free and open all year.
Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park is an ideal family day out. Come face to face with over 90 species of exotic wildlife. Appreciate endangered animals such as cheetahs, oryx and lion tailed macaques in tranquil surroundings and see conservation in action. Children will enjoy themselves on the free playground while you enjoy a coffee nearby.
Titanic Trail – daily guided Walking Tour – This guided walking tour operates every day all year leaving at 11am from the Commodore Hotel. It has been in operation on a daily basis since 1998 and is recognized as one of the best guided walking tours in Ireland. It is the best way to uncover the wonderful historical legacy of Cobh and Cork Harbour. All research and information are compiled by the renowned historian, Dr Michael Martin. The walk visits all the major attractions of Cobh giving detailed and fascinating background to the last hours of Titanic, the tragedy of the Lusitania and the story behind the monuments, and the buildings that adorn the town. Duration 60 minutes. Tickets at departure from the Commodore Hotel at 11am or book online at www.titanic.ie Tours at other times available on request. During June, July and Aug extra walking tours operate daily, times may vary off season – Pre booking required November-April. 2014 Trip Advisor Award of Excellence.