Cobh: The Titanic was here


Cobh, pronounced “Cove”, is a seaport town in the south of County Cork, Ireland.  In the heydays of ocean-liner travel, Cobh functioned as Cork’s port and as a major transatlantic port. Serving the passengers of many a ship to the United States of America, Cobh was the final stop for many Irish emigrants before their journey westwards.

It was also the final port of call of the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage on 11 April 1912, which ties this small harbour town with the sinking 3 days later.

Cobh is some 22 kilometres from Cork, and the easiest way to get there is by train.  Cobh does not see intercity services from Dublin, but it does host local suburban trains from Cork.

First published on this site on 8.4.2019.  Updated 16.1.2023.

Getting there

Cobh is connected to Cork via the Cork suburban railway network. The return ticket cost me €10.00, and the journey takes 26-30 minutes in each direction.

Cobh Heritage Centre at Cobh Train Station

Cobh’s train station used to be a lot bigger.  For starters, passengers used to pass through its main hall on the way to the platform.  Today, however, passengers enter and exit the station through a side door, while the main hall houses the Cobh Heritage Centre, a museum dedicated to the long history of Irish emigration.  It is well laid out and extremely informative, and was well worth the €10.00 I paid on entry.

2023 update: The Adult entrance ticket now costs € 12.50

Where is this place?

Google Maps link:

Museum website:

Cobh Museum

Moving up the road towards the town centre is the Cobh Museum, housed in the former Scots Church.  This small museum largely covers Cobh’s maritime and socio-cultural history and is quite well stocked- impressive for a volunteer run museum!

2023 update: I cannot verify if the Cobh Museum is still operating or not.

Where is this place?

Google Maps link:

Cobh town centre and harbour

Cobh town itself is very small and compact.  You could probably walk the entire town (hilly bits included) in an hour or so, or less if you did the walk without really paying attention to the sights. 

Cobh does have character, and I certainly did enjoy my slow walk up and down it’s streets.  If walking the town centre and up the hilly parts isn’t your thing, then feel free to enjoy sitting on the promenade.  The view of the harbour is quite pleasant.

If you’re looking for a spot that will give you a nice view of the skyline, try the pier.  A better composition of the skyline may be had by taking one of the tours to Spike Island.  These depart from the pier and offer a great view of the town as you sail towards the Island.

West View “Deck of Cards”

A prominent photo spot is the “Deck of Cards” houses along West View.  They are simply terrace houses built on a particularly steep incline and painted in various colours, giving the townscape a multi-coloured permanent fixture.  There is a better, and higher up viewpoint of this street, but it appeared to involve gaining access to someone’s home or garden, so I wasn’t inclined to try it.

Where is this place?

Google Maps link:

Other places to look at

Sirius Arts Centre

If you’re inclined to enjoy some art in the afternoon, the Sirius Arts Centre is worth a look.  It features a wall-to-ceiling mural by Brian O’Doherty, also known as Patrick Ireland.  Recently re-discovered and part of an ongoing conservation project, its vibrant colours are a nice addition to the space it occupies.

The Arts Centre is also an art space so there are usually other art pieces on display too.  The icing on top is that its free to visit, so why not?

Where is this place?

Google Maps link:

St Colman’s Cathedral

This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the obvious Cathedral in the room: St Colman’s Cathedral.  Completed in 1919 after 51 years of construction, it overlooks the town and harbour from a very prominent position.   This makes it a prominent feature of any picture of Cobh one takes, because it towers over the town. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t inclined to enter, but I did take more perspective pictures than is healthy of St Colman’s.

Where is this place?

Google Maps link:

St Colman’s website:

Cobh’s Titanic Experience

It wouldn’t be Cobh without a mention of the Titanic.  While Belfast features the very big and flashy (and expensive) Titanic Belfast, Cobh’s Titanic Experience is quite modest. 

Cobh was the Titanic’s last port of call before the Atlantic crossing. 123 passengers were taken on in Cobh, then called Queenstown, of which 113 were Third Class passengers. This was also where Jesuit Priest Francis Browne disembarked the ship – he was on the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton to Cobh/Queenstown and was an avid photographer. His pictures taken onboard the ship during his short stay onboard would later become among the last known of the ship, her crew, and her passengers.

The ticket gives you a quick run through of life onboard the Titanic.  While the overall size of the museum is small, the exhibits are well laid out and informative. The museum also makes an effort to drive home the human impact of the tragedy: Each entry ticket features the name of a passenger onboard the ship, and you get to find out if they survived the tragedy or not. 

As an added bonus, the building in which the Experience is situated was the White Star Line building in Cobh, where passengers passed through before boarding the tenders taking them to the cruise liners moored out in the harbour.  Standing on the balcony that used to serve first class passengers, it is certainly not hard to visualise passengers making their way down the now derelict pier to whatever destiny awaited them.

2023 update: The Adult entrance ticket is now €11.00

Where is this place?

Google Map link:

Titanic Experience website:

Final thoughts

Cobh is an underrated place.  While it may be small, the quality of the places to see this small town makes it a worthy day trip.

So if you’re visiting Cork, why not spare a day to visit Cobh?






One response to “Cobh: The Titanic was here”

  1. […] This journey was first published on this site on 8.4.2019 as part of a post on my Summer 2018 visit to Cobh. […]

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