If you’re looking for a quaint, cute, and colourful village to visit in 2020, then add Ireland’s Cobh to your bucket list. With so many things to explore in this harbour town, here’s a list of things you can do there to get you started! By Bayar Jain
Cobh, pronounced Cove, glitters with alluring waters on one end and colourful houses on the other. Located off the coast of Cork in Ireland, this alluring waterfront town boasts of an infectiously lively atmosphere, characterised by its passionate affection for traditional Irish culture. While here, you’ll wake up to the hues of the harbour sun, and sleep to the glistening glows of the moon. With a town replete with expansive history, splendour views, and the charming hospitality of the locals offering you a céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes in Gaelic), this south coast seaport has a lot to offer.
Cobh and Titanic, the ill-fated cruise to soar the Atlantic Ocean, are synonymous with one another. Serving as the last port of call for the ship, Cobh gives guests an opportunity to get a glimpse of the luxury cruise line experience. The Titanic Experience is housed in a building dating back to the early 19th century, where, on arrival, you’ll be handed a boarding card with the name of one of the 123 passengers who came to the White Star Line Ticket Office on Thursday, April 11, 1912. A personal guide will then take you on a virtual journey to board the tenders and join Titanic for her maiden voyage to New York. The half-hour guided tour includes taking guests to the original pier, Heartbreak Pier, learning about the life aboard the ship, experiencing the chill of the sinking, and even acquainting yourself with the role of RMS Carpathia in the rescue of the survivors. Before departing, you’ll also find out whether ‘you’ i.e. the person on your boarding card survived the journey or not.
Unlike most cathedrals sprinkled all over the country, St. Colman’s Cathedral is relatively younger. Dating back to 1919, with a whopping 46 years’ worth of construction backing it, this church stands as a centrepiece in every picture of the town. Simply known as the Cobh Cathedral, the majestic building’s tower also has a clarion of 49 bells, making it one of the largest in Europe. This Roman Catholic Church has sunlight streaming through its stained-glass windows, picture-perfect stone arches and glossy wooden pews completing the serenity of the space.
3. Deck of Cards
Built in 1850, the Deck of Cards is technically called the West View. However, a line of colourful row houses stretching up the steep street of Cobh has given rise to the quirky name. Symmetry is expounded as you walk down the street, and you’ll find yourself posing against every house for your Insta-moment!
4. Spike Island
This low-lying green island once played a key role in the city’s defence system. This former prison for 2,300 inmates has now completely overhauled its image and become a famous tourist spot. This 123-acre dollop of land has gone through many transformations, including a 6th-century monastery, a 24-acre fortress, and even underground tunnels from the Victorian times. In short, Spike Island is centuries’ worth of Irish history packed into one.
5. Cobh Museum
Cobh Museum might be a small space, but it doesn’t fail to impress. Model ships, paintings, photographs, and artefacts fit into this 19th Century Scottish Presbyterian church building. Plus, keeping in tune with the Titanic theme of Cobh, the museum has also preserved the last written record for the ship. However, what truly sets this museum apart is their reference library. At the reference library, you can undertake independent family research to find out if any of your ancestors belonged to Ireland or not. Since Cobh was once a huge port for Irish emigration, it wouldn’t be surprising if your lineage traces back to the port town.