Cobh is the Cruise Port on the south coast of Ireland that is the gateway to the city of Cork.
Occasionally some Cruise Liners berth in Ringaskiddy, but over 90% dock right in the centre of the historic and captivatingly beautiful town of Cobh.
Cobh is famous as the last port of call of the Titanic on its maiden voyage in 1912, as the port where many of the victims and survivors from the Lusitania tragedy were brought ashore and as the port of departure for 2.5 million of the 6 million people who emigrated from these shores in the century after 1848.
Passengers arriving in Cobh have a wide array of things to see, do and enjoy right here and a short distance away. If you haven’t booked an excursion the following information will, we hope, entice you to go ashore and will help you to plan your visit so as to get the most out of your short stay.
Turn right on leaving your ship and the centre of Cobh is just a 2 minute walk away. The Railway station is accessed through a gate on the quayside. Taxis are available just outside the Railway Station. Car Rental is available from Great Island Car Rental and your car can be collected just outside the gate to the quay.
To assist you, a Tourism representative will board your ship shortly after docking. The Tourism Information Office is located in the Arched Market House Building in the town centre and you may meet one of the Cobh Tourism Ambassadors in their green vests who are ready to answer any questions about the area or simply to have a chat.
The Town of Cobh
The centre of Cobh is compact and quite flat with a large waterside park and a good selection of bars, shops, cafés and restaurants. There are monuments to sporting legends, Antarctic explorers, emigrants and to many Maritime tragedies including the sinking of the Lusitania and the Titanic. The architecture is distinctly Victorian with brightly coloured buildings, the renowned “Deck of Cards” terrace of houses and the neo-Gothic St. Colman’s Cathedral. The town rises up a steep slope and reaching the magnificent Cathedral and Museum on foot may prove difficult for some. However there is usually an abundance of Taxis in Pearse Square. Check out the weather forecast a few days in advance and print off this map to help you find your way.
The building of the Cathedral started in 1868 and took over 50 years to complete. The stained glass, marble carving, main altar, mosaics and pipe organ are all magnificent.
There are daily masses at 10 am with an extra mass on Sundays at 12 noon.
A gift shop is located on an upper level at the rear of the Cathedral with access via the road.
This daily guided Walking Tour operates every day all year leaving at 11am from the Commodore Hotel and uncovers the wonderful historical legacy of Cobh and the Harbour. Learn about the last days of Titanic, the heart wrenching tragedy of the sinking of the Lusitania and the story of the fascinating and varied history of Cobh and the Harbour. Duration is 60 minutes with payment made to the guide at the departure point.
Cobh Museum – A Gem in Ireland’s Ancient East
Cobh Museum, housed in the former Scots Presbyterian Church (built in 1854) has been open since 1973 and plays an important role in telling the story of the town of Cobh. Run by a team of volunteers, it can be reached via steps across the road from the Cruise Liner terminal and is an unexpected delight to visit. A gem in Ireland’s Ancient East, it stands at the entrance to the town overlooking Cork Harbour. Many of the original church furnishings remain, forming a sympathetic background to the varied and changing exhibitions. Come through the red door and prepare to be surprised. You will immediately be immersed in the history of Cobh (or Queenstown as it was once known). The town, always associated with ships and shipping, is shown through photographs and displays which also reveal its social and commercial history and its strategic role in the maritime and military history of Cork Harbour. Mementoes of the great liners, including the RMS Lusitania, sit alongside artefacts which will spark memories of childhood and the past. Look out for this year’s special exhibition!
Titanic Experience is a permanent visitor attraction in Cobh that is situated in the original offices of The White Star Line. This is the location that marks the departure point for the last 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage to America. The story of Titanic is told through the eyes of the Queenstown passengers and discovers the strong Irish Links to Titanic.
Spike Island in Cork Harbour has a varied and dramatic history.
A monastery was founded there by St. Carthage, the island housed convicts prior to their transportation to Barbados and Van Diemen’s Land and it was later used as a Penal colony. Convict labour was used to build Fort Westmoreland (now Fort Mitchel), an impressive star shaped fortress build to protect the Harbour from attack. The British Army handed over the Fort to the Irish Army in 1938 and they remained on the island until 1979. A vibrant community lived on the island. The Irish Navy held control of the island from 1979 until 1994 when a prison was opened. The prison was closed in 2004 and in 2010 the ownership of the island was transferred to Cork County Council to develop its tourism and amenity potential.
The first phase of developing Spike Island into a world class visitor attraction has just been completed with a €5 million investment. During the summer months the island is accessed via the ferry service that leaves from Cobh at 11am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. Book online on http://spikeislandcork.ie/ or at the Kiosk at the entrance to Kennedy Pier in the centre of Cobh (oposite AIB).
Housed in a section of the Victorian Railway station the exhibition is right next to the quayside. The history of emigration, famine and transatlantic maritime travel is told in an audio visual display and includes an impressive Titanic exhibition.
Christys Irish Store is located within the centre and sells a wide selection of souvenirs and Irish products like Waterford Crystal, Belleek China, Aran Sweaters, pottery and jewellery.
There is also a restaurant and Bureau de Change facility in the Heritage Centre.
Cobh Road Train:
Ideal for young and old alike, Cobh Road Trains take you around the town stopping at two fantastic locations; the viewpoint known locally as the Black railings and the famous St. Colman’s Cathedral. Passengers are the allowed a moment to disembark the train at these locations and take in their surroundings. It is fun for all the family and the train itself is in the style of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ which will undoubtedly be popular with children.
Why not pick up an Ice Cream in a local shop, sit back and take a ride on Cobh Road Trains for the perfect start to a day of sightseeing in Cobh? The journey takes approximately half an hour and leaves every hour, on the hour from 11 am from the centre of the town across from the Lusitania Peace Memorial.
Taking the train is a fast and reliable way to get to Cork.
Weekday trains to Cork operate every hour on the half hour and the journey takes just 24 minutes. Return trains from Cork operate every hour on the hour. When larger Cruise ships (3000 plus passengers) visit Cobh extra trains are added to the schedule – usually trains operate every half an hour. Passengers can visit Fota House, Gardens and Wildlife Park by using Fota station or can change trains at Glounthaune to get to Midleton (for Jameson Distillery). Cobh and Cork stations ONLY are fully wheelchair accessible.
Cork Harbour and the waters outside the Harbour are one of Europe’s top Angling destinations. The Harbour can be fished in all weathers and large numbers of specimen fish are regularly caught. A fleet of modern charter boats operates in the Harbour offering full and half day trips with rod hire if necessary. Alternatively a fleet of Warrior 175 /170 boats is available for both self drive hire and guided hire to get you angling in Cork Harbour. Why not try fishing for Bass with expert guide Commander Richie Ryan of the Irish Navy.
The Wildlife Park is set on 70 acres of the grounds of Fota Estate with a journey time of just ten minutes from Cobh to Fota Railway Station. The park is not like an ordinary zoo; here you can come face to face with free roaming animals & birds from all parts of the world. The park opens at 11 am on Sundays and at 10 am every other day.
Fota is an elegant Regency style house with over 70 rooms and is a fifteen minute stroll from Fota Railway Station. Between 1829 and 1897 it was transformed from a hunting lodge for the Smith Barry family into what is now an architectural gem. It also houses one of the finest collections of Irish art in the country.
Fota’s internationally recognised arboretum and gardens are a haven for relaxation and enjoyment and have one of the finest collections of rare and tender trees and shrubs grown outdoors in Ireland and Britain.
This superb course is located a five minute drive from Cobh at Marino Point. It is an 18 hole, championship standard golf course with USGA specification greens and an Island Green at the par 3, 10th. The course is a modest 6250 yards from the main tees, but the back tees extend its length to nearly 7000 yards, (Par 71) offering a stern test to even the best of golfers. The elevated location offers stunning views of the inner Harbour, the Lee estuary and the surrounding countryside. Cobh Golf Club takes bookings from cruise passengers via email to email@example.com. There is club, buggy, trolley and electric trolley hire available if needed (please indicate requirements in the email). Also, if requested, the Club will send a free courtesy car to the pier to collect players and return them after their game. Please email or phone the Club on +353 21 4812399 with further queries .
The Fota Island Golf Club is just 20 minutes from Cobh and is of a European Tour Standard. It hosted the Irish Open in 2001 and 2002. The Old Head Golf Links is built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean near Kinsale. It is just over an hours drive from Cobh.
Blarney Castle, Gardens and Woolen Mills are located in Blarney village, eight miles north of Cork City. Kissing the Blarney Stone at the top of the tower is said to give the gift of eloquence. Blarney can be reached by Blarney Bus Route 215 from Parnell Place Bus station (ten minutes walk from the Railway station). The bus journey takes 30 minutes.
The Old Midleton Distillery is where distilling took place from 1825 until 1975 when a modern distillery opened next door and is now the home of The Jameson Experience. Jameson is the world’s largest selling Irish whiskey and the guided tour includes a visit to the grain stores, water wheel building and still house where you will see the largest pot still in the world. After the tour you can become a certified Irish whiskey taster!
The Cork City ‘Hop On/Hop Off’ Tours visit most of the city’s main historical landmarks and sites including St. Finbarr’s Cathedral, U.C.C., St. Anne’s Shandon & Butter Museum and Cork City Gaol. Tickets are valid all day and you can get on and off as often as you wish. Tours begin at Grand Parade opposite the Tourist Office. The tour operates daily from March to November, with pick-ups every 1½ hours in March, October and November, every 45 minutes in April, May, June and September and every 30 minutes in July and August. The first tour begins at 9.30 and the last tour at 17.00 daily.
Stepping inside visitors are taken back in time to the 19th century and get a fascinating insight into day-to-day prison life at a time when the high walls ensured no escape.
The atmosphere suggests that you are accompanied by the shuffling feet of inmates, each representing a particular period in Irish history from pre-famine times to the foundation of the Irish State. The cells are inhabited by life-like wax figures; original graffiti on cell walls tell the innermost feelings of some inmates while the spectacular audio tour (in 13 languages) tells the social history and contrasting lifestyles of 19th Cork.
No holiday is complete without shopping and a Cruise holiday is no different. If it is basic necessities, souvenirs and craft items that you are looking for, then look no further than Cobh. Christys Irish Store at Cobh Heritage Centre and the Tregan Craft Centre next to Titanic Experience Cobh will not disappoint. There are a number of fashion shops in Cobh, but if it is a wide selection of fashion that you are looking for then a trip to Cork may be a better option. All of the familiar high street names are to be found in the areas centred around St. Patrick’s Street in Cork – a ten minute walk from the railway station. The newly opened Opera Lane has the premium fashion stores H&M, Gap, Topshop, Topman, Compu B, Next, River Island, CC Viyella, New Look, Tommy Hilfiger, Therapie and Kuyichi.
For real value try Dunnes Stores or Penneys (Primark in the UK).
Most stores in Cork city do not open before 12 noon on a Sunday, so bear this in mind.