Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland, known as Cove from 1750 until 1850, then named Queenstown following the visit of Queen Victoria in that year, renamed to Cobh in the late 1920’s by the authorities of the Irish Free State when the south of Ireland became an Independent Republic.

The town is situated on Great Island, in Cork Harbour on the south coast of Ireland. Cork Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world. (Sydney Harbour in Australia being the largest).

Spike Island and Haulbowline

We couldn’t speak about Cobh without mentioning neighboring Haulbowline and Spike Island. Haulbowline was a naval base for the British during the Napoleonic wars because of Cork Harbour’s strategic position; it is now the home of the Irish Naval Service. Spike Island, now a tourist attraction, a short ferry trip from Cobh also situated in the Harbour has a long monastic, penal and military connection to Cobh. (Napoleonic wars: 1803–1815)

Penal Colonies

Many prisoners were deported by ship from Cobh and Spike Island to the penal colonies in the Americas, and after the American Revolution, they were sent to different locations in Australia. Cobh has in fact a vast and varied maritime history, from the Napoleonic Wars and the Irish Famine to the ill fated Titanic and Lusitania.
During the 19th century thousands of men, women and children left Ireland via Cobh on the so called Famine or Coffin ships. These people were escaping the Famine and hoping for a better life in America and Canada but many of them perished from starvation and disease on these treacherous voyages.

Irish Emigration

Cobh is synonymous with Irish Emigration as over three million people left via Cobh. The most famous of these Emigrants was Annie Moore, a native of Cork City, the first to pass through the new emigration facility in Ellis Island, New York on January 1st, 1892. A bronze statue on the quay outside the Cobh Heritage Centre commemorates her and her two brothers, Anthony and Philip. Please refer to article on Annie Moore.

R.M.S. Titanic

On April 12th 1912 the R.M.S. Titanic anchored outside of Cork harbour and 123 passengers boarded, however only 44 of those who had embarked from Cobh survived the sinking of the great ship.

R.M.S. Lusitania

The liner, The R.M.S. Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine 11.5 miles off the coast of Cork on May 7th 1915 while on a voyage from New York to Liverpool, killing over 1100 people. Many of the survivors and the dead were brought to Cobh, and 100 of the bodies were laid to rest in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh. This event was partly responsible for the United States of America entering the First World War.

These two tragedies are commemorated by the Lusitania Peace Memorial in 
Casement Square and the Titanic Gardens.

One of Ireland’s top tourist destination

Cobh is one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations, the birthplace of many famous people including Jack Doyle, world champion boxer,  celebrated with a mural near the famous Cobh Cathedral, and Sonia O ‘Sullivan, an athlete achieving many accolades, there is now a commissioned statue in the main street celebrating her great achievements.
Cobh is a liner destination port with 100,000 passengers and crew disembarking every year from the liners berthing at the Cobh Cruise Liner Terminal, located practically in the middle of the town right next to Cobh Railway Station. The Train to Cork City is just a short journey where you can enjoy all that Cork City has to offer.

Over 55 Cruise Liners are expected to visit Cork Harbour and Cobh in 2016 .

Cobh hosts many tourist attractions: The Cobh Heritage Centre, The Titanic Experience, The Titanic Trail, Cobh Museum, Cobh Tourist Train, Spike Island Tours, and St. Coleman’s Cathedral, Foto Wildlife Park, Cobh Golf Club, some great Irish Music Pubs, and Café’s galore.

St. Coleman’s Cathedral

The construction of St. Coleman’s Cathedral began in 1867 but it was not consecrated until 1915. The Cathedral which towers over the town has a carillon of 49 bells, and is the only church carillon in the Republic of Ireland.

Royal Cork Yacht Club

The oldest yacht club in the world, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, was founded in Cobh in 1720. But in 1966 moved its headquarters across the harbour to Crosshaven where it still remains today.


This article is brief summary

There is whole lot more to be said about Cobh and this article is just a brief summary. We will add on a separate article for each of the headings above and more over the next few months. So thank you for staying with us and we hope you visit this website again soon.

Article By: Sean Treacy and Wendy Allison