|Irish grid reference
|Elevation:||47 m (154 ft)|
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.
According to legend, one of the first colonists of Ireland was Neimheidh, who landed in Cork Harbour over 1000 years BC He and his followers were said to have been wiped out in a plague, but the Great Island was known in Irish as Oilean Ard Neimheadh because of its association with him. Later it became known as Crich Liathain because of the powerful Uí Liatháin kingdom who ruled in the area from Late Antiquity into the early 13th century. The island subsequently became known as Oilean Mor An Barra, (the Great Island of Barry & Barrymore) after the Barry family who inherited it.
The village on the island was known as Ballyvoloon, overlooking "The Cove" and this was first referred to as Cove village in 1750 by Smith the historian who said "it was inhabited by seamen and revenue officials". The Cork directory of 1787 shows about thirty businesses in the town including one butcher and one draper. The Water Club established at Haulbowline in 1720 was the progenitor of the present Royal Cork Yacht Club (now based in Crosshaven) and is the oldest yacht club in the world. The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) was based for many years in Cobh and the present Sirius Arts Centre was formerly a clubhouse of the RCYC organisation. In 1966 the Royal Cork Yacht Club merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club, retaining the name of the RCYC but moving its headquarters to those of the RMYC at Crosshaven at the other side of the harbour.
Cobh is well served by pubs and hotels and leisue facilities which include the newly built Coral Leisure Center. The oldest recorded pub on the island is reputed to have been the "Anti Gallicon" situated in the Holy Ground, and apparently liable to flooding when the tide came in. This pub dated back to the 1780s and was named after opponents to the French "Gallicon" faction who opposed the powers of the Pope.
Cove underwent rapid development in the early 1800s assisted by world events. Due to its naturally protected harbour Cobh has historically been important as a tactical base for naval military bases. For instance, Cobh was of major tactical military importance as a naval base during the Napoleonic wars between France and England. Today, the Irish Naval Service is based on Haulbowline island facing Cobh. It has eight ships based there, all armed with cannons and GPMG's. LÉ Eithne is the biggest at almost 85 metres long. She also has a helipad.
The Napoleonic Wars meant the town became a British Naval port with its own admiral and much of the present day buildings were built. The cessation of hostilities dented its prosperity for a time but it became widely known as a health resort and many convalescents came to Cove to avail of its temperate climate. Amongst these was Rev. Charles Wolfe who wrote the "Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna" and is buried in the Old Church Cemetery outside the town.
One of the major transatlantic Irish ports, Cobh was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. 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. Local lore has it that a Titanic crew member John Coffey, a native of Queenstown, jumped ship although there is no record of him on the crew list. 123 passengers boarded in all; only 44 survived the sinking.
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.
Due to its maritime advantages, a significant shipbuilding industry developed in Cobh and the remnants of the Verolme Shipyard today maintain many of the original cranes and hoists which now form part of the significant industrial and maritime heritage of Cobh which is considered to have major tourism potential. Underutilised dockyards in Holland (e.g. NDSM/Stichting Kinetisch Noord in Amsterdam which has been redeveloped as an artistic and cultural centre and where MTV has since located) and other European countries are now emerging as major hubs of cultural and economic development, focussing on fostering creative class and knowledge-intensive industries such as media and computing. . The Verolme Shipyard currently contains the Philip Gray Gallery of Fine Art .
The age of steam brought famous achievements to Cobh, most notably the first steam ship to sail from Ireland to England (1821) and the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic (Sirius 1838) which left from Passage West. In 1849 the name of the town was changed to Queenstown to honour Queen Victoria who visited Ireland in that year.
Several other notable ships are associated with the town, including:
During World War I, Queenstown was a naval base for British and American destroyers operating against U-boats that preyed upon allied merchant vessels. Q-ships (heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks) were called "Q-ships" as many were fitted out in Queenstown. The first division of American destroyers arrived in May 1917, and the sailors who served on those vessels were the first American servicemen in combat duty in the war. When the convoy arrived in port, after a rough passage in what were little more than open boats, they were met with a great crowd of sailors and townspeople, thankful for their help in stopping the U-boats that were blockading western Europe. The British Commodore met the captain of the American flagship by jumping onto the dock, and asked him how soon the weather-beaten American ships could be put to use. "We're ready now, sir!" was the widely quoted answer from the Captain.
Due to its tactical military importance, under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921 the port remained a UK sovereign base, see Treaty Port. Along with the other Treaty ports it was handed over to the government of the Irish Free State in 1938.
The population of the Cobh area has increased greatly in recent times with large new housing estates established on the outskirts of the town, placing severe pressures on the transport infrastructure. The town boundary has not yet reflected these changes in order to accommodate the new housing developments.
According to the 2006 Census, the combined population of Cobh and Great Island was 19,887 with a large amount of housing estates being built in areas such as Rushbrooke and Carrignafoy. Cobh is gradually becoming a satellite town to the nearby Cork City, and has a dynamic (and international) commuter population as can be evidenced on the hourly commuter train service to Cork city.
Cobh Town Council is the local authority governing the town of Cobh. It consists of nine elected Councillors who work with the administrative, executive and technical staff, led by the Town Manager. The Town Council has a wide range of functions in order to serve the people of Cobh. As of June 2009 the political make-up of the council is 3 Labour Party, 2 Fine Gael, 1 Fianna Fáil, 1 Sinn Féin and 2 independent councillors. The contact details of current Cobh public representatives are found on the website of the Cobh Town Council. The town is also part of the Midleton Electoral area for elections to Cork County Council and is in the Dáil constituency of Cork East.
Leisure and commercial activities have improved in recent years:
Cobh is a small seaport town in County Cork, Southwest Ireland. It's on Great Island in Cork Harbour. In the era of transatlantic travel it was the first and last port in Europe and it was the last port for the Titanic in 1912. It consequently played a major part in the story of Irish emigration to America. Originally known simply as "the Cove of Cork" it started life as a small fishing village but began to row rapidly when the British established naval fortifications in the area during the Napoleonic Wars. Later it was the contry's largest emigration port with over 1.5 million emmigrants passing through on their way to a new life, mostly in North America. In 1849 the town was renamed Queenstown following a visit by Queen Victoria but in 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, the town adopted a gaelicised version of "cove" and Cobh became the town's name.
The town faces the sea in rows of terraces rising up the steep hillside, dominated by a tall and handsome 19th century St. Colman's Cathedral, designed by Pugin.
Cobh (Pronounced Khov) is on an island in Cork Harbour, connected at the north end by a bridge to Fota Island at Belvelly which is connected to the mainland by another bridge.
Cobh can be reached by Cork's only suburban railway . By road, Cobh is 20km from Cork City, crossing the bridge to the island. Cobh is 40km from Kinsale. From there, it takes an hour, and requires taking a €4 car ferry that runs from 7AM-11.45PM. Don't take the wrong ferry, which goes to France, the one to Cobh is poorly signposted.
There is a limited bus service around the town which is mostly used by older people and those living in outlying estates for shopping.
The Taxi Rank is in Pearse Square and it is possible to travel anywhere on the Great Island for around €6 (2007 price). All taxis have meters fitted. Hackneys also operate in the town and can be summoned by telephone. Taxi companies include Cove Cabs (kiosk in town centre, Tel: 481 2299), Barry's Cabs (Tel: 087-6195283) and Harbour Cabs (Tel: 481 4444).
All of the hotels serve food. Good food can also be enjoyed at restaurants including the excellent Trade Winds on the waterfront which looks like an ordinary bar at the front. The Indian Kitchen, serving Indian food is on East Beach near the yellow clock tower. There is a chinese restaurant, the Hong Kong on West Beach opposite the pier while Mimmos is a restaurant attached to the fish & chip shop on Pearse Square but providing a much wider range of food than simply fish and chips. Mimmos is also an excellent takeaway and other takeaways in the town include the Good Food Company and the Ocean Palace chinese restaurant on Midleton Street at the back of town. The Bella Vista Hotel also operates a chinese restaurant and takeaway. Additionally there is also the WatersEdge Hotel (next to the train station and Hertiage Centre) which comprises of Jacobs Ladder Restaurant and Bar. Here it has beautiful views of the Harbour to enjoy with an extensive A La Carte Menu or some light snacks. Also when Cruiseliners are in the hotel gives fantastic close up views as the liners berth on the Hotels Pier.
There are many excellent bars in Cobh to enjoy a drink, whether you prefer a quiet atmosphere or music.
Most of the bars (pubs) are located around Casement Square in the town centre, including:-
The Rob Roy, Casement Square(modern music, live acts especially at weekends). The Rob Roy is also the official meeting place of the local U2 fan club.
The Mauretania, Casement Square - named after the famous ocean liner, the Mauretania is small and cosy.
The Lusitania, Casement Square - another cosy bar but a bit more spacious. Like many local bars it has a maritime feel with lots of photos of old ships and ships paraphernalia.
Ryans, Casement Square - similar in size to the Lusitania
Tarrants, Casement Squre - more of the same.
Kelly's Bar is located at Westbourne Place near the Commodore Hotel. It is a spacious but small bar and one of the busiest in town. Popular with sports fans, it has a number of large screen televisions and a mezzanie area.
'The Quays is across by the waterfront and also serves excellent food. Located between the Promenade and the Railway Station.
Heading back towards the eastern end of town are three pubs:- Connie Doolans, East Beach - again a maritime theme and overlooking the sea. It is popular with tourists for its olde-world charm.
The Well House, Lynch's Quay - located on the waterfront near the eastern end of town. Music, especially at weekends. Popular with the younger set.
The Anchor Bar, East Hill - the last pub in town and you will have to climb a steep hill to reach it but the view from there is worth it. Enjoy stunning views of Cork harbour while you sip your drink near the window.
The centre of town gets quite busy (and sometimes noisy) on Friday and Saturday nights so if you want a quiet drink and a chat it's better to head to the back of the town, up that mountainous hill, the area is known locally as the "Top of the Hill". Here you will find the following bars:-
The Quarry Cock, Bond Street - nice "local" bar with lovely pine timberwork. About 200m behind the Cathedral.
Jack Doyles, Midleton Street - just around the corner from the Quarry Cock. Popular with sports fans, especially fans of Celtic Football Club which has its local supporters club here. Named after the famous boxer, crooner and Hollywood actor Jack Doyle who was from Cobh.
Gilmores, Midleton Street - old style pub with modern clientele. This was previously in the hands of the Mansworth family for over 100 years.
The Roaring Donkey, Midleton Steet - a lovely old pub at the very top of the hill. Front bar is quite small but widens out at the back. Live traditional music on a regular basis.
The Wolfe Tone Bar, Wolfe Tone Street / Roches Row: a bit off the Top of the Hill to the east of the cathedral. settled clientel and not many visitors as its hidden away at the back of the town. Cosy bar with a real coal fire and a friendly atmosphere.
Further afield than these bars you will probably take a taxi. The other bars on the Great Island are:-
The Village Inn, Newtown - a big bar, popular with all age groups, and also has its own established clientele. Live Music each week, space for events and parties and also an area to play darts. Take the first left after the water ferry on the road into town.
Peg's Bar, Carrigaloe - old style bar, traditional music every Saturday night with impromptu sessions on Sundays and whenever the local musicians decided to have a get together.
The High Chapperal, Ballymore - about 3.5km from the town centre in the quiet rural area of Ballymore. Music at weekends and popular with card players.
The town is served by several doctors' surgeries and a number of dentists. For out-of-hours doctors service contact South Doc, Telephone: 1850 335 999. Dr.Cahill's dental surgery provides out of hours dental surgery in case of emergency. Call 087 27 64 755 for out of hours service only.
There are several pharmacies / chemist shops in the town and the operate a 24 hour service by rotation.
Police: The Garda (Police Station) is located about 300 metres west of the railway station on the Lower Road and is open 24 hours a day. The phone number of Cobh Garda Station is 490 8530 or for emergencies dial 999 or 112.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!|