Located on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. Cobh is on the south side of Great Island in Cork Harbour. Home to Ireland’s only dedicated cruise terminal. There is maritime and emigration legacy to the town, including the Titanic and the Lusitania.
The History of Cobh
- One of the finest natural harbours in the world. Cobh was virtually unknown up to the early 1800’s.
- The advent of the French Revolutionary an Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), Cork Harbour became an important refueling and assembly point for naval and commercial ships. Up to 300 ships at a time could be seen at anchors in the waters.
- Convicts Ships in the 18th Century to transport convicts to Australia.
- Queen Victoria’s visit in 1849, when Cobh was renamed Queenstown in her honor.
- Ships to carry emigrants to North America.
- The Transatlantic steamers and ocean liners continued the task of carrying the Irish to new lives in new lands.
- Cobh has witnessed greatness and tragedy alike.
- The town’s architecture and streetscape is distinctly Victorian.
St. Colman’s Cathedral dominates the town from its place on the steep hill on which it was built. Its 49-bell Carillon is the only such instrument in Ireland and is the largest in Ireland and Britain. A Carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower or belfry of a church. The instrument consists of at least 23 cup-shaped bells, which are serially played to produce a melody or sounded together to play a chord.
Over 50 cruise liners, including the largest liners in the world visit Cohb each year.
St. Coleman’s Cathedral
The town with 3 names; Cobh, Cove and Queenstown. First called “Cove” (“The Cove of Cork”) in 1750. It was renamed “Queenstown” in 1850 to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria. Known from 1850 until the late 1920’s as Queenstown. Then renamed to Cobh by the new authorities of the Irish Free State. Cobh is a Gaelicisation of the English name Cove.
Cobh Heritage Center
The Cobh Heritage Centre. The “Queenstown Experience” is located at the centre and offers exhibitions of Irish history. It provides information on life in Ireland through the 18th and 19th centuries. The mass emigration and the Great Famine. On how criminals were transported to Australia for petty crimes. There is an exhibition on the history of the Titanic, whose last port of call before it sank was Cobh (then Queenstown). There is an exhibition on the tragic story of the Lusitania, which sank off Cork Harbour. The centre also offers a Genealogical Family History Research Profile system.
Located in the Cobh’s restored Victorian railway station.
Emigration and The Famine
Queenstown was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. Making it the single most important port of emigration. The emigration from Ireland was due to poverty, crop failures, the land system, and a lack of opportunity.
Irish emigration reached another level during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease. The famine was caused by a potato crop failure. In 1845, the failure of the potato crop was a partial failure while in 1846 the potato crop failed completely. In the years of 1847 to 1849, there was either total or partial crop failure of what was planted. The Irish population depended on the potato crop as their main source of food.
Escape was seen by many as the only chance for survival. Between 1845 and 1851 over 1.5 million people emigrated from Ireland. This was more than had left the country in the previous half century.
Annie Moore was just 15 years of age when she emigrated to America with her two brothers. Annie was the 1st immigrant ever to be processed in Ellis Island in the United States when it officially opened on January 1, 1892.
Annie and her brothers sailed from Queenstown on the SS Nevada on December 20, 1891 and arrived after 12 days of travelling in steerage.
Annie Moore Statue in Cobh
A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York. These statues honor her being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island. These statues also symbolize the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey.
Cobh was a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia.
Convicts Sleeping Quarters
On April 11, 1912, Queenstown was famously the final port of call for the Titanic when she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
The Titanic Memorial
A tragically notable ship to be associated with the town of Cobh, the Cunard passenger liner Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale while en route from the United State to Liverpool on May 7, 1915. 700 passengers were rescued while 1, 198 passengers perished.
The Lusitania Peach Memorial
(Photos by RSheridan)