When designing our itinerary to Ireland, Cobh was the one place I felt I had to visit on our trip. Why Cobh? Cobh (Irish: an Cóbh, meaning “cove”) is a seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. The locality, which had had several different Irish-language names, was first referred to as Cove (“The Cove of Cork”) in 1750. It was renamed Queenstown in 1849 to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria and so remained until the name Cobh (closer to the Irish spelling) was restored in 1922 with the foundation of the Irish Free State.
Cobh is located on the south shore of the Great Island in Cork Harbour, (reputed to be the second largest natural harbour in the world), on south-facing slopes overlooking the entrance to the harbour. Facing the town of Cobh are Spike Island and Haulbowline Island. On a high point in the town stands the Cobh Cathedral, St. Colman’s seat of the diocese of Cloyne.
One of the most interesting historical facts to note is that it was one of the major transatlantic Irish ports and was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. This is a statue Annie Moore and her brothers on the waterfront in Cobh. Annie Moore was the first person to be admitted to the United States of America through the new immigration centre at Ellis Island, New York on 1 January 1892.
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.
Cobh was also a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The records of such deportations can be found in the ship log books in the Cobh Museum, which since 1973 is housed in Scots church (Presbyterian church until 1969 closure) overlooking the harbour.
Cobh is a coastal town along the water that has a small town feel with an active port with small and medium sized boats. If you like running, the scenery with the long, flat coastal routes makes for a stunningly beautiful route. You’ll be surprised by the palm trees, something we never expected to see in Ireland, but because of it’s temperate climate, this area gets mild weather all year long. In addition, we learned that there are cruises that sail out of Cobh to Wales so if you are looking for something different, you can plan a trip to Wales as well.
I really fell in love with Cobh! We stayed at the Knockeven House, the most amazing B&B with a gracious and inviting host, Pam. When you find a B&B like this, you want to tell everyone. Big rooms, great food, impeccable service, and beautiful surroundings. We were close enough to everything, including the trains to Cork and downtown where we went for dinner. Cobh is smaller and nothing like the busy streets of Dublin, but still has so much to offer and makes it a must have stop on any trip to Ireland.