Cobh (pronounced Cove) – previously known as Queenstown – is found on the south coast of County Cork. Being on the Great Island in Cork Harbour, it’s not too far from Cork city – only a 30 minute drive away. This charming town is a great place to visit with some great activities available for visitors and has some stunning views from the top of the city.
When visiting Cobh, you’ll notice lots of cruise-liners arriving and leaving the terminal. Reason being, it’s Irelands only dedicated cruise-liner terminal.
There are two famous ships associated with the town’s history: The Titanic and the Lusitania passenger liners.
1. “The Deck of Cards” houses
The houses of West View street are a stunning row of brightly painted houses situated on a seriously steep road with gorgeous views of the cathedral, the sea and the town below.
2. St. Colman’s Cathedral
The Cathedral dominates the town as a central point of interest. Driving into Cobh for the first time my first reaction was one of “Oh WOW” looking at the cathedral and the town situated on the steep hill looking over the sea.
For a cathedral which looks so old, it’s surprisingly young: only having construction completed in 1915. It’s carillon in the tower has a grand total of 49 bells and is one of the largest in Europe. It reaches an impressive height of 90m.
Are you interested in the history of the Titanic? If you want to experience some of the ill-fated passenger-liner’s history, Cobh is a great place to do that if you are not off to Belfast on your trip.
Cobh was the last port of call in Ireland for the Titanic before she made her final journey on the 11th of April 1912. From Cobh there were a total of 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic, 3 passangers in first class, 7 in second class and 113 in third class.
The Titanic had 1308 passengers and 898 crew members on board the Titanic when she left Cobh, with a total of 2206 people on board for the final leg of the journey.
In Cobh you can learn more about the Titanic at the Titanic memorial and Titanic Experience museum. The Titanic Bar and Grill is worthwhile to pop into for a lunch or dinner.
4. Tregan Craft Center
Right next to the Titanic Bar and Grill is the Tregan Craft Center, full of handmade crafts: jewellery, wooly garments, pottery and trinkets it’s a great place to browse and find a souvenir.
5. Spike Island
Spike Island is found not far from Cobh and was originally a monastic settlement where a monastery was established in the 6th century. There is a 200 year old Fort, Fort Mitchel, which served as in times of defence. The Fort was also used as a prison in later times to host over 2300 prisoners in the Irish Famine in the 1850’s, sending the prisoners off to America or Australia from the island.
Visitors can attend the tour which includes a short ferry ride from Cobh, a tour of Fort Mitchel and the island. There is also a cafe and picnic areas to enjoy on the island.
6. Leonard’s Cafe Kimbo
On the search for some lunch I found a great Italian restaurant. Their anti-pasta was out of this world. They have a nice variety of homemade pastas.
7. Marlogue Woods
If you fancy stretching your legs and getting out into nature, the Marlogue Woods are stunning. They offer a picturesque walk through the forest to the sea. The woods are a 15 minute drive from the town center of Cobh.
Back in to the town of Cobh, there is a lovely promenade with lots of benches to relax and enjoy the scenery.
It was in the 1st World War on the 7th of May 1915 that the German U-Boat torpedoed the Lusitania passenger liner and sank her off the coast of Kinsale Old Head. She was carrying 1962 people on board her journey from New York to Liverpool when she was struck and sunk.
The ship was sunk in only 18 minutes and 1198 people were lost to the disaster. Cobh was the town were most of the 764 survivors were landed together with many of the ship’s victims. 169 of the victims were laid to rest in Cobh.
There is a memorial to the Lusitania you can visit.
I was pleasantly surprised by Cobh. It’s a beautiful town, with it’s colourfully painted houses, it’s tall cathedral, beautiful seaside and great walks.