Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is an inspiring and dramatic coastal driving route, the longest in the world! Officially the route starts (or finishes) in Kinsale in the south or in Malin Head, Ireland’s northernmost point. It’s yours to experience, however you choose but a short extension to include the pretty seaside town of Cobh will add a truly unforgettable experience to your journey.
Cobh, just 45 minutes from Kinsale and 25 minutes from Cork city and Cork International Airport is where two and a half million “Atlantic” journeys began, so it is so appropriate to start your Wild Atlantic Way from here.
Cobh was renamed Queenstown after the visit of Queen Victoria in 1849 and became a major port of emigration to North America as the Irish fled poverty and the Famine and sought a new life in North America. Emigration by sea continued right up to the 1950’s when the last of the 2.5 million journeys on the great ocean liners were followed by flights to all corners of the globe.
Cobh (renamed after Irish independence in 1921) is built on the steep south facing slopes of Great Island, in the centre of Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Here the sea and the land gently meet and Cobh is everything that you would expect from a beautiful seaside town. However Cobh’s story is more thought provoking, dramatic, inspiring and unique than the countless stories all along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cobh’s story is entwined with world history – the Titanic, Lusitania and the emigration of so many Irish people from the town’s quays have seen to this. The unique Victorian architecture, piers and buildings of Cobh have changed little since the era of the Titanic. The magnificent St. Colman’s Cathedral perched on the hillside, brightly painted houses, stunning flower displays, non stop activity on the water, waterside parks, scenic walks and a boat trip on the harbour make for a relaxed visit. The waterside hotels, restaurants, cafés and cosy pubs will satisfy every taste.
Cobh’s world class tourist activities and attractions make it an absolute “must see” destination for anyone visiting Ireland. The Titanic Experience, Queenstown Story Heritage Centre, Spike Island, Cobh Museum, Cobh Road Train, the Titanic Trail, Cork Harbour Boat Hire, Cobh Sightseeing Bus Tours and the Cork Waterbus are available every day. The Titanic Memorial Garden, St. Colman’s Cathedral, Old Church Cemetery with the mass graves of Lusitania victims, the Bible Gardens and many plaques, signs and memorials are waiting to be discovered.
And because Cobh is a top fifteen finalist in the Fáilte Ireland Tourism Towns competition in 2015 and consistently reaches the top tier of the National Tidy Towns competition, Cobh excels at welcoming visitors.
For the finest setting, the finest food and the finest welcome you must visit Cobh and then enjoy all that the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer. If you’re travelling in reverse Cobh will offer the perfect opportunity to unwind, take stock and say, that was epic!