First off, let's clear up any confusion. Cobh has been known throughout history by other names. "Cove" or The Cove of Cork. "Queenstown," after the visit of Queen Victoria in 1849. And "Cobh," since Irish independence in 1922. The town is still pronounced "Cove" - the "bh" in the "Cobh" spelling represents the "v" sound in the Irish language.
What to See and Do
Visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, inside a restored Victorian railway station, and experience The Queenstown Story - an exhibit telling the history of the 3 million people who emigrated from Ireland via Cobh, or Queenstown. Wander the Cobh Museum at the Olds Scots Church (www.cobhmuseum.com). Look back at over a century of history of trade in the town, as this was the main transatlantic port in Ireland up until the late 1950s. See photographs, paintings, mementos, and even research your own family history here. Browse Harbour Books. Walk along the waterfront. Visit St. Colman's Cathedral, renowned for its 49 bell carillon -- hear The Carillon Recitals at St. Colman's carillon on Sundays at 4:30PM during May- September. Then wander down to town for some more live music at Kelly's Bar on Sundays. O'Shea Bar at the Commodore Hotel has live comedy at 9:30AM on Thursdays. The Sirius Arts Centre had what look like an interested exhibition of modern photography. Entitled Birthday Party and photographed by Vee Speers, the work was inspired by her daughter's birthday, where kids played at being adults. Because it was after 5PM, the exhibit was closed, but I would have liked to see it. The Sirius Art Centre is housed in the Old Yacht Club Building, and it host art, theatre, and music events regularly. The art centre is in the former home of the oldest Yacht club in the world - The Royal Yacht Club - which began as the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on Haulbowline Island in 1720. In 1996, it merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club, founded in 1872. The building was the yacht clubhouse until the mid-19th century, now it is The Sirius Arts Centre. Visit Fota Wildlife Park, House, and Gardens, just north of the town on the mainland.
Where to Eat and Drink
Jacob's Ladder at the WatersEdge Hotel specializes in steaks and seafood. The Trade Winds Restaurant also specializes in seafood - the Scallops Sur La Plat sounded good, "pan-fried scallops served on a savory potato pancake drizzled with a light blue cheese sauce" (27.50 euro). They also serve lamb and steaks. The River Room Coffee Shop and Bakery serves hot melts, ciabattas, and sandwiches for lunch.
Where to Sleep
The WatersEdge Hotel is located exactly where the name implies, next to The Cobh Heritage Centre, for convenience access to the town. The Commodore Hotel is on the main street in town. Beach Mount Hall is Cobh's hostel, tel: (0)21 4812177.
How to get there
Located on the Great Island, east of Cork City.
From Cork City, take N25 east, transfer to R624 south to Cobh.
From Cork City or Mallow, take the commuter train, running daily, excluding public holidays. See www.irishrail.ie for a current schedule.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
When to go
April through October, when the days are longer and the sun more likely to show. A town St. Patrick's Day Parade in March. The Titanic Commemorative Weekend in April. The Lusitania Commemorative Weekend in May. The Bandstand Recitals during the summer months. The South of Ireland Pipe Band Championships during June. The Fisherman's Rowing Regatta during June. The Cobh Maritime Song Festival during June. The Cobh Sailing Club at Home during July. The Cork International Folk Dance Festival in mid-July. The Cobh People's Regatta during mid-August. The International Angling Festival in early September.
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007