Cobh is a waterfront town on Cork Harbor that is most notable for being the last port of call for the Titanic before sinking in the Atlantic. Aside from that, this seaside town in Ireland has an interesting maritime history & beautiful architecture that you will be able to explore at length during a visit.
Cobh, the Irish Town with Three Names
The town actually has had three different names throughout its history. Cove was the original name that dates back to 1705.
When Queen Victoria made a visit to Ireland in 1849, the town changed its name to Queenstown.
Once Ireland became independent, the town changed its name once again, this time to Cobh (which is pronounced “Cove” like the original).
Must-Do Activities in Cobh, Ireland
Those visiting for the day will find plenty of things to do in Cobh. Make sure to check out these must-do activities for an unforgettable Irish experience.
1. Enjoy the Deck of Cards Row Houses on Barrack Hill
The vibrantly colored homes on this street date back to the 1850s and are all similarly constructed. The only way to tell each apart is by their unique color scheme.
Across from the homes is a small sitting park that gives you the perfect view of the homes along with St. Colman’s Cathedral steeple in the background.
2. Walk Around Casement Square
Named for the Irish nationalist, Roger Casement, the Square is worth exploring. The Market House with its triumphal arches and classic architectural design is the centerpiece of the square.
You will also find The Monument Bar mural which is a nod to Irish Pubs of the 20th century.
3. Visit the Lusitania Memorial
The sinking of the Titanic isn’t the only tragic event connected to Cobh.
On May 1st, 1915, during WW1, the liner “Lusitania” sailed from New York to Liverpool. 6 days later, she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat off the Irish coast near Cobh.
Of the 1962 people on board, only 762 survived. Nearly 130 of those who lost their life are buried in a mass grave at the Old Church cemetery.
The Lusitania Memorial, Angel of Peace, features an angel comforting two fishermen who worked in recovering the dead.
4. Enjoy Cork Harbor
This harbor is the second-largest natural harbor in the world and it is lovely!
Spend time walking along the promenade, grab an ice cream or sit down and enjoy a pint while watching the ships come into the harbor.
5. Look for the Annie Moore Statue
Annie Moore left Ireland from Cobh in 1892 and became the first person to immigrate through Ellis Island in New York.
6. Visit the Titanic Experience
On the 11th of April 1912, the Titanic arrived in the port of Queenstown before sailing on her maiden voyage.
The museum is housed in the original White Star Line Ticket Office which passengers would have passed through on their way to board the ship and today serves as an exhibition that shows information about the ship along with its passengers.
When you arrive, you will be given a ticket that has information based on an actual passenger of the Titanic.
You will learn about the boarding process, and features of the ship, and even see an example of a room your passenger might have slept in.
By the end of your visit, you will learn if your passenger made it off the ship.
It is a must-do attraction in Cobh and should not be missed!
7. Walk the Titanic Trail
There are many different walking tours in Cobh.
This hour-long walk takes guests through the town walking in the footsteps of those who voyaged on the Titanic.
The informative guide explains specific landmarks and tells stories that were shared by survivors and families.
Because the harbor town remains pretty much the same as it was the day the Titanic set sail, guests get an experience unlike any other!
8. Cobh Heritage Center
If you want to better understand the history of this part of Ireland, a visit to the Cobh Heritage Center is a must-do.
Located in a restored Victorian railway station, this museum focuses on Irish emigration.
Guests will learn all about Annie Moore, the first emigrant ever to be processed at Ellis Island in 1892.
9. Explore Spike Island
Take a ferry to Spike Island and explore its fascinating history as one of Ireland’s oldest jails.
Often referred to as Ireland’s Alcatraz, this is where convicts were kept prior to being transported to Australia.
The island is open to visitors and has guided tours, a visitor center, and art installations.
10. Visit St. Colman’s Cathedral
Do not leave Cobh without seeing Colman’s Cathedral. One of the tallest buildings in Ireland, it is also by far one of the most beautiful Neo-Gothic cathedrals in Ireland.
The 300-foot tower contains Ireland’s only carillon (percussion instrument) and has 49 bells which are the most of any cathedral in Ireland.
St. Colman’s has all the features of a traditional Gothic cathedral with pointed arches, vaulting, and flying buttresses even though it was built in 1919.
With mosaic floors, brilliant stained glass windows and intricately carved stone, the interior of St. Colmans’ is nothing short of stunning.
Italian artisans were brought in to create beautiful mosaics in the cathedral.
The colorful stained glass windows illuminate the interior of the cathedral while telling the stories of the Bible.
This truly is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe and well worth the climb to get there!
Places to Visit Nearby Cobh
Cobh makes a great base for exploring the surrounding region. If you’re looking to explore further out from Cobh, consider checking out the nearby cities of Kinsale, Cork, and Waterford.
- Kinsale is a charming fishing village about an hour away from Cobh that’s renowned for its beautiful harbor and vibrant nightlife. Make sure to visit Charles Fort, which dates back to the 17th century!
- Cork is one of Ireland’s largest cities and has plenty to offer visitors. From its stunning museums to its bustling pubs, Cork is worth exploring.
- Waterford is home to some of Ireland’s oldest buildings and provides an interesting glimpse into life in centuries past. Make sure to visit the House of Waterford Crystal, where you can watch master craftsmen create stunning works of art!