The pretty seaside town of Cobh is a must see destination with something for all the family.
The town’s place in world history is firmly marked because it was the last port of call of the Titanic and because the bodies and survivors of the Lusitania, sank by a torpedo as it approached Cork Harbour were brought ashore here in 1915.
The Titanic Experience, Queenstown Story Heritage Centre and Cobh Museum are not your typical museum and younger folk will find plenty to explore and interact with. The small cinema in the Heritage Centre is a perennial favourite, finding out in the Titanic Experience whether “you” were one of the unlucky 79 passengers who boarded the Titanic in Cobh and later drowned or seeing children’s toys of yesteryear in the museum that is a former church.
The ocean liners no longer call to Cobh to pick up passengers and mail, but the largest Cruise liners in the world tie up right in the centre of town. The biggest carry over 4000 passengers and crew and become the dominant feature in the town, apart that is from the magnificent St. Colman’s Cathedral. There are over 50 such ships coming to Cobh this summer and the town bustles on those days. Check out http://www.portofcork.ie/index.cfm/page/cruiseschedule2010 for the 2014 Cruise liner schedule.
Cobh is famous for its hills and the Cobh Road Train makes getting around easy while learning some of the fascinating history of this pretty seaside town from the driver.
There are events in Cobh virtually every weekend throughout the summer. The Titanic Trail walking tour is held every day of the year, starting at 11 am at the Commodore Hotel. The Titanic Memorial Garden will also open this spring, where the memory of the 123 passengers who boarded the luxury liner in Cobh will be immortalised on a glass memorial wall on a site that overlooks the last anchorage of the most famous ship of all time.
Everyone loves a Treasure Hunt and there is one ready and waiting to be picked up for free in many outlets including the Heritage Centre and Tourist office. It will help to unveil the historical secrets of the town with questions easy enough for youngsters and a few challenging enough for adults.
Spike Island is the Alcatraz of Ireland and the boat trip from Cobh is all part of the experience and fun of getting there. This year it is possible to get on the boat and explore the island for a few hours without taking a guided walking tour. The guided tours however bring the centuries of history to life and should also be considered. There is also a brand new outdoor adventure centre opening this spring.
The local Fishing tackle shop give out Crab fishing lines, a bucket and some bait for a small refundable deposit and fishing for crabs from the safety of Kennedy Park (known locally as the Prom) is child’s play and will keep children and their parents amused for hours. Dolphin watching or fishing trips can also be arranged here.
There are events around the world such as the Bull Running in Pamplona or the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris that are unique. Cobh claims the title for holding the world’s most unique and fun lottery. It is a lottery like no other that uses over 6,000 numbered balls that are released at the top of a steep hill nicknamed the Deck of Cards. The hill has 25 houses stacked up against each other on the hillside. Once released the thousands and thousands of numbered coloured balls cascade and bounce their way down the ridged surface of the roadway.
Will it be the excitement of the children intent on propelling the balls even faster down the hill, the unique sound of the clinking of balls or the bustle of the gatherers at the finish line intent on saving as many balls as possible for next year that becomes your abiding memory.
Be a part of it. It only happens once a year and this year it is Bank Holiday Monday 4th August. Come to Cobh, buy your ball for just €2 and hope that your ball is one of the first four balls past the post to win a cash prize.