Cobh (Haven). Population 6,206 (urban district).
Cobh (pronounced ‘cove’) is a relatively modern town on the eastern side of Cork Harbour, 15 miles (24 km) from Cork city. It is an important Irish port of call for cruise liners. Entering the harbour passengers have a fine view of the town, with its houses rising on a terraced hillside beneath the towering form of St Colman’s Cathedral.
Daniel O’Connell, the ‘Liberator’, attended school at Cobh. His contemporary, the ‘apostle of temperance’, Father Mathew, died here. In 1849 the place was renamed Queenstown to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria, but the Irish designation was readopted in 1922. The Royal Cork Yacht Club at Cobh is the oldest of its kind in the world, dating back to 1720.
Things to do
There is seabathing near the town, tennis at Whitepoint, golf (9) at Monkstown which is reached by ferry, and golf (18) and horse-riding at Little Island 8 miles (13 km) away. The harbour provides sea fishing, boat trips and yachting.
Points of interest
Features of the beautiful Gothic Revival Cathedral of St Colman are the blue granite exterior, the main doorway and the rose window above it, the flying buttresses, the interior columns of polished marble, the mosaic flooring, the diapered wall ornamentation, the elaborately carved capitals, the open triforium with its moulded arches and columns, the apse with its tracery, the rich colouring of the windows and the beautiful detail of the marble reredos. The cathedral carillon of forty-seven bells is one of the finest in the world. Regular carillon recitals are held.
The Old Church Cemetery is the burial-place of Tobin, the playwright, Wolfe, author of ‘The Burial of Sir John Moore’, and more recently, hundreds of the victims of the Lusitania, sunk by a German submarine off Kinsale in 1915. There is a memorial to the disaster on the quayside.
A heritage centre which will feature the history of Cobh and its involvement with sea transport and wartime significance opened in 1993.
South of the town is Spike Island, an army coastal defence station. West of Spike Island is Haulbowline Island. To the east of the Spit Lighthouse and beyond it can be seen the wooded shores of the harbour around Rostellan and Aghada. Guarding the narrow harbour mouth are the ancient forts of Dun an Daibhisigh and Dun Ui Mheachair.
A short run from Cobh is East Ferry, where a branch of the Lee estuary divides the mainland from Great Island, on which Cobh is situated. The main road from Cork comes on to the island at Belvelly Bridge, near which is the square keep of the fourteenth-century Belvelly Castle. On the mainland side, the road passes around the wooded Fota Estate, an important wildlife park where most of the animals live in as natural an environment as possible. There is also an arboretum which is one of the best in the country and includes trees imported from all parts of the world. Fota House, a splendid example of Regency architecture, has been restored and includes an important collection of Irish landscape paintings.
Activities in Cobh
Pitch And Put
Pottery And Craft Centres
Walking Routes Not Guided
Walking Tours Guided