Cobh, pronounced Cove is situated on Great Island which is the largest island in Cork Harbour. The island has a history which dates back to pre-Christian times but the town itself is comparatively new, dating from the 17th century. Some of its early place names are believed to derive from battles held with Phoenician Invaders. In the 7th century it was visited by religious monks who settled and contemplated all things spiritual. When Queen Victoria visited Ireland for the first time in 1849 it was at Cove she first stepped ashore. The town was renamed Queenstown from then on in her honour. However following Irish Independence from Britain in 1920, it was renamed Cobh which is an Irish language word for Cove and is pronounced the same.
The town is renowned for its vibrant colours and the stepped nature of the town as it backs up the hill overlooking the harbour. Cork harbour was once the British Navies primary base in Ireland and the town is still be-decked with many beautiful and historic admiralty houses. It is often said to be the picturesque town in the whole of Ireland.
Being at the mouth of our great harbour, its story is needless to say knitted with the ocean and all things maritime. In the glory days of transatlantic shipping in the early 1900’s, Cobh saw many of the great ships. Most famous of these being the Titanic which had Cobh has her last port of call before setting sail. On an equally sad note, Cobh was also the main departure for the hundreds of thousands of emigrants of the great famine of 1845 – 1850 who left these shores never to return and whose story is told in The Queenstown Story Heritage Centre. Follow the Titanic Trail or visit the memorial to the victims of the Lusitania, which sank off the coast nearby, to understand these important pieces of maritime history.
The town is host to many sea based activity operators and is an important water sports centre. Activities include deep-sea angling, shore angling and bird watching in nearby Cuskinny Marsh and Cork Harbour. Fota Wildlife Park, House & Gardens are located a few kilometres from the centre of town as are a number of golf courses. No visit to Cobh would be complete without visiting the Cathedral which prayerfully overlooks the harbour and all those who visit and set sail. Cobh is easily accessible by a regular train service from Cork City.