Cobh: Wikis


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An Cóbh
Location of Cobh
centerMap highlighting Cobh
Irish grid reference
Province: Munster
County: Cork
Elevation: 47 m (154 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Town:
 - Environs:


Cobh (pronounced /ˈkoʊv/; Irish: An Cóbh, "cove") is a sheltered seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland with a approx population of around 28,639.

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.


History of Cobh

Statue on the waterfront of Annie Moore and her brothers. 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.

According to legend, one of the first colonists of Ireland was Neimheidh, who landed in Cork Harbour over 1000 years BC[citation needed] 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.

The tower of St. Colman Cathedral from the streets below.

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[citation needed].

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. [1]. The Verolme Shipyard currently contains the Philip Gray Gallery of Fine Art [2].

The original pier (as it appeared in 2007) that passengers used to board tenders to get to the Titanic, which was anchored near the mouth of Cobh harbour.

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:

  • The Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat off the Old Head of Kinsale while en route to Liverpool in on May 7, 1915. 1198 passengers died, while 700 were rescued. The survivors and victims were brought to the town of Cobh, and over one hundred lie buried in the Old Church Cemetery just north of the town. The Lusitania Peace memorial is located in Casement Square opposite the arched building housing the Cobh Library and Courthouse.

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.

Cathedral of St. Colman

Demography and people

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.

The Camber


  • Haulbowline Island which faces Cobh town is the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service, formerly a British naval base.
  • Cobh was home to Ireland's only steelworks, the former state-owned Irish Steel works which was closed by its buyer, Ispat International, in 2001. There is a controversy over the slag heap on the steelworks, where there are concerns that it may be leaching into the harbour[3].
  • Tourism is a large employer in Cobh. Large cruise liners visit Cobh each year, mainly during the summer months, although many of the tourists are transported out of Cobh by bus to other tourist destinations.
  • Another important employer in Cobh had been the Dutch-owned Verolme Cork Dockyard, in Rushbrooke. It opened in 1960 and ceased operations in the mid-1980s. In 1981 the mvLeinster was built at Verolme for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route [4] The last ship built at Verolme was the Irish Naval Service's LÉ Eithne (P31) [5]. Some ship repair work is still carried at Rushbrooke using the impressive drydock[1] and other facilities. The drydock pumps are reputed to date from 1912. Due to large scale development in cobh many new facilities have beeen built and many people from Midleton,Glanmire & surrounding areas commute to Cobh each day for work and shopping purposes.

Transport and communications

The Belvelly Bridge will be completely replaced in 2010 it is the only bridge connecting the Island of Cobh to the mainland.

Cobh politicians and public representatives

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.

Cobh today

The waterfront at Cobh

Leisure and commercial activities have improved in recent years:

  • In February 2008 building of the new retail park in Cobh (Ticknock) took place all units have been sold and are expected to open in January/February 2010.
  • The new Aura swimming pool opened in August 2007, in January 2009 Aura Leisure group went into administration the swimming pool was closed but a break through came in June 2009 when Coral Leisure group began to operate the pool and Leisure Centre.
  • There were plans to build a new marina in front of the town, but it is unclear if this will go ahead.
  • Since Late 2008 when the recession began Cobh has seen a boom in new retail, restaurants and fast food openings. Many of these were in construction or planned before the economic downturn commenced.
  • Cobh has many schools including Colaiste Muire secoundary school and Cobh Community College.In 2010 a planned new school development has been drawn up by the Department of Education & Science to cater for the high population and need for good education in the town.

Arts and Festivals

  • The main hub for the arts in Cobh is the Sirius Arts Centre located on the waterfront. It hosts many cultural events both in house and around Cobh.
  • The Maritime Song Festival takes place each year in May with live performances and impromptu sing-songs of sea shanties and traditional music of the sea at the Sirius Arts Centre and a number of hostelries around Cobh and the Great Island. It also coincides with the South of Ireland Pipe Band competition.
  • The Cobh Peoples Regatta is held every year around August. It is the cultural highlight of the Summer. The event traditionally includes on-stage performances from local musicians and performers as well as a Cobh pageant to decide the Queen of Cobh for the coming year. The festival ends every year with a fireworks display over the Harbour at 10pm. It attracts up to 20,000 people and is known widely around Ireland and the UK
  • Cobh is the setting of the 2009 Connor McPherson film The Eclipse



  • Cobh's most successful football team is Cobh Ramblers, the club where Roy Keane made his name and earned a transfer to English side Nottingham Forest, as well as where current Irish international footballer and Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland started his career.
  • Cobh Golf Club has a new 18-hole championship course at Marino on the main road R624 into Cobh.
  • Rushbrooke rowing club is also a very successful club in Cobh.
  • Cobh GAA is the center for gaelic games on the island, such as hurling and gaelic football, and is located at Carrignafoy
  • The inaugural Cobh 10 mile road race will take place on 18 April 2010 on the streets of Cobh and the roads of the Great Island. Called the Great Island 10, all proceeds will go to the Irish Cancer Society.

Twin towns

See also

External links



Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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.

Get in

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 [1]. 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.

Get around

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).

  • Memorials The Titanic & Lusitania memorials are on Pearse & Casement Squares respectively.
  • St. Colman's Cathedral Dominating the town's skyline, this neo-Gothic structure has great views of the harbor from its vantage point
  • The Queenstown Story, Telephone: 021/481-3591. Local heritage centre that documents the towns emigration and other history, including the Great Famine and Titanic. €6, open daily May to October 10AM-6PM, November to April 10AM-5PM, last entry 1 hour before closing.
  • Cobh Museum - located at the entrance to the town in an old Presbyterian Church and completely separate to the nearby heritage centre, Cobh Museum has many interesting local artifacts and some genealogical research information. Open from May to October 12-4PM.
  • Tourist Information Office, in the Old Yacht Club on the harbor, Telephone: 021/481-3301, [2]. Open Monday to Friday 9:30AM-5:30PM, Sa,Su 1PM-5PM.
  • The Post Office is on the waterfront opposite the Lusitania memorial, open M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-1PM.
  • Titanic Trail Tours, Tel: 021/481-5211 or mobile 087-276-7218, [3] - Michael Martin leads 75-90 minute tours explaining the Titanic story in Cobh, €9, price includes pint of beer at pub at end of tour, daily at 11:00, June to August also at 3:00, meet at Commodore Hotel, private tours available. There is also a Ghost Trail during Summer.
  • Old Church Cemetery, Ticknock - old cemetery 1km north of town. Contains mass graves of Lusitania victims and many other interesting graves including that of the famous boxer, singer and crooner Jack Doyle. Directions= pass the cathedral (follow one-way system if driving), pass Top of the Hill, take first left after Supervalu shopping centre.
  • SailCork, East Ferry Marina, Cobh, +353214811237, [4]. Have fun learning dinghy or cruiser sailing , powerboating or navigation. Enjoyable courses for juniors and adults under the guidance of Eddie English and his crew.  edit
  • Parking Discs can be bought in the Tourist Information office or local shops for €.5/hour, maximum of 2 hour parking anywhere in Cobh. The disc zone covers the town centre and some surrounding streets and is marked with signs by the footpath.


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.

  • Ard na Laoi, Westbourne Place, 021/481-2742. A friendly place with 5 rooms single €45-50, double €68, triple €99.  edit
  • Bellavista Hotel, < address="Spy Hill, Bishop's Road" directions="" phone="021/481-2450" email="">18 bedrooms, 4 suites, nice harbour views
  • Commodore Hotel, Westbourne Place, 021/481-1277 (fax: 021/481-1672), [5]. A grand 150 year old Victorian landmark which housed Lusitania refugees temporarily single €70-92, double €95-142, triple €150-210.  edit
  • Waters Edge Hotel, Yacht Club Quay, 021/481-5566, [6]. 18 bright rooms and a harbourside restaurant single €75-100, double €95-142, triple €120-160.  edit
  • Sheraton Fotaisland Hotel & Spa, < address="Fota Estate, Fota island, Cork" directions="Take N25 (E30) to Cobh Interchange (approximately 15 kilometers East of Cork City). Follow R624 toward Cobh for approximately 3 kilometers to the hotel." phone="021/467-3000" email="">131 bedrooms, Championship golf course


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.

  • 50 km to the west is the charming and equally maritime-historic village of Kinsale
  • The world-famous Blarney Castle is also in County Cork, 6km north-west of Cork city.
  • Fota Wildlife Park is on an island just outside Cobh and has a halt stop on the main Cork-Cobh railway line. Giraffes, monkeys, etc but in a much more open setting than a zoo. Also Fota House and Arboretum with many rare trees and plants. Located just before the bridge at Belvelly where you cross onto Great Island.
  • Barryscourt Castle [7] is a medieval castle near Carrigtwohill about 5 miles (8 km) from Cobh. It was the seat of the Barry family who owned much of the land around the area from the 12th to the 17th centuries. It features a tower house and extensions from several different periods. Open to public during summer months, the ground floor contains an exhibition on the history of the Barry family and Barryscourt Castle.
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!


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