Where We Be
Cobh (pronounced “Cove”) is a quiet seaport
on Ireland's southeast coast that is particularly
rich in Irish history. More Irish emigrants left
from Cobh on their way to the USA, Canada, and
Australia than any other port in Ireland – some 3
million all told. Back then the town was known
as Queenstown in honor of Queen Victoria’s
visit, but it’s the same place.
We visited the Cobh Heritage Centre (€9.50 pp)
which recounts the history of this town which
has seen so much -- in particular "coffin ships"
during the potato famine and hordes of Irish
emigrants all through the 1700s and 1800s, both
voluntary and involuntary. Back then England
sent its undesirables away, and this included
irate Irishmen who were dispossessed of their
land when the English moved in. Cobh is also
closely tied to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912
since this was the Titanic's last port of call. Also
covered in depth is the sinking of the Lusitania
in 1904 during World War I, which happened
just offshore. Those who survived were
brought to Cobh to recover.
|The Annie Moore statue stands just outside Cobh Heritage Centre. Annie was the first immigrant
to pass through Ellis Island, having departed from Cobh aboard the steamship Nevada in 1892.
|Outside the Heritage Centre is this black-and-white mural titled, "Cobh: The Last Port of Call."
It shows the Titanic steaming into port to pick up and drop off its last passengers before it sank.
|We came to Cobh specifically to visit the Heritage Centre. It's rare for one small town to have so much
interesting history tied to it, but Cobh is the exception, having served as Ireland's main emigration point.
|This is your first view looking into the Heritage Centre
|A newspaper boy sells papers
announcing the Titanic's sinking
|The Heritage Centre covers a lot more than just the Titanic: placards on
Irish emigration are posted in chronological order near the entrance
|Another in-depth exhibit walks you back in time and immerses
you in the tough world of Irish emigration in the 1800s
|One of the most powerful displays shows a passenger's message in a bottle thrown overboard while the
ship sank. "Good Bye All" it says. It washed up on shore and was found a year later in a town near Cork.
|The exhibit includes this classic Titanic poster as well as
the New York Times headlines announcing the tragedy
|This seaside park is where the Titanic pier is located..It's a good spot
to reflect on all the millions who left Ireland from here never to return.
|Cobh Cathedral towers above town and seems
bigger than such a small town should have
|Not far from the Heritage Centre is the old pier from
which the last passengers for the Titanic departed
|Our exploration of Cobh itself was brief but enough to get
a feel of the town. This was the view from our lunchtime cafe.
|The great view of Cobh harbor from the top of the hill is an added bonus
|It's worth the climb to the cathedral
for its own sake -- it's quite beautiful
|Historic posters trumpet
the Titanic's maiden voyage
|This placard about Anne Bonny of Kinsale, who really and truly
became a red-haired pirate lass, was particularly fascinating
|Cobh is a 1921 "Gaelicization" of the English
name Cove and is pronounced the same