Cobh, Ireland: History and Heritage – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


We’ve made our way to the south
central coast of Ireland where the town of Cobh sits
in an ideal natural harbor. If your ancestors are Irish, chances are they left
from Cobh. Of the millions of Irish who emigrated to America,
Canada, and Australia, nearly half sailed
from this town. Cobh’s inviting waterfront
is colorful and salty, with a playful promenade. When Queen Victoria
visited Ireland in 1849, Cobh was the first Irish ground
she set foot on. Giddy, the town renamed itself
Queenstown in her honor. Later, in 1922, to celebrate
their new independence from British royalty,
locals, no longer so giddy, changed the name back
to its original Irish name, Cobh. And today,
rather than play cricket, the kids prefer the very Irish
sport of hurling. Cobh’s major sightseeing
attraction, filling its harborside
Victorian train station, is its kid-friendly emigration
and maritime history museum. The first steam-powered ship to
make a trans-Atlantic crossing departed from Cobh in 1838, cutting the journey time
from 50 days by sail to only 18. In 1912, the “Titanic”
made its last stop here before heading out on its
maiden and only voyage. And in 1915, the “Lusitania,”
a British ocean liner, was sunk by a German submarine
just 30 miles from here. Over a thousand people died.

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