• Meghan Bartok

Cobh, Ireland – the cutest town on the Celtic Sea

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

We used Cork as a base for two day trips we wanted to do – Blarney Castle and the town of Cobh (pronounced as Cove and formerly known as Queenstown). We chose the cutest Airbnb not too far from the train station – fully stocked with board games and tea, we all agreed we could have stayed in that cute little house forever. If you find yourself in Cork, I can highly recommend staying at Martin’s place! On our first morning there, we were off to Cobh, which is a short 25-minute train ride from Cork. My main reasoning for going to Cobh, a town on the bay with a rich maritime past, was due to its history with the Titanic – Cobh/Queenstown was the last place the Titanic picked up passengers before starting her fateful voyage into the Atlantic – and anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve had a slight obsession with the Titanic since elementary school. Despite being quite a little town, we found it brimming with things to do, and well worth a visit!


Stop One


Yummy breakfast at Seasalt Cafe


First, we needed to fuel ourselves for the day, and we stumbled upon the cutest little cafe called Seasalt. This ended up being one of our favorite restaurants during our whole Ireland trip, with delicious breakfast and the yummiest scones with clotted cream! Plus the ambiance and decor were super cute. I had poached eggs on toast with sauteed kale and mushrooms, which was really tasty. I would highly recommend checking it out if you’re in Cobh!


Stop Two


After our yummy breakfast, we headed to the Cobh Heritage Center, where we learned all about Cobh’s maritime history. The museum was super well done – when you buy your ticket, you get the boarding pass of a famous person who sailed from Cobh. We had a great time exploring the museum and trying to find the plaque with our ‘person’s’ story. I was lucky enough to get Anne Bonney, the famous pirate ‘queen’! As much as I love Titanic history, it was also super interesting to learn about the other people who immigrated from Cork over the years, from pirates to prisoners to those fleeing the famine. We also learned about all the name changes the town has had over the years – becoming Queenstown in 1849 for a visit from Queen Victoria, before changing back to Cobh around the time the Irish Free Republic was established. The whole museum took a little over an hour to look through, and cost €10.


Stop Three

We decided to take a little break before continuing on to the Titanic Museum by trekking up the hill to St. Colman’s Cathedral, which is easily one of the most recognized places in Ireland. It also has the distinction of being one of the tallest buildings in all of Ireland. Now, I knew that it was at the top of a hill, but no one preps you for how tall this hill really is. Easily one of the steepest inclines I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking up. The view over the bay and the cathedral were definitely worth the walk. We took our time walking around the inside of the cathedral and left just before mass started to take some pictures of the outside. While you will have to walk up the hill and to the left to the next street to get the quintessential photo, the little park you pass on the way up to the cathedral is a great place to get some pictures.


Stop Four


Heartbreak Pier


Next up was the Titanic Experience Cobh, which is a little museum that centers around the 123 Irish immigrants who boarded the ship in Cobh, mostly sailing in steerage. The specificity of it made the museum stand out from the many other Titanic museums that I’ve been to. My favorite part was that you got to stand and look out over the original pier where all of the immigrants said goodbye to their loved ones, many of whom were never to return to Ireland. The museum combined a guided tour with a museum portion that you could explore at your own pace. It’s so nice that there is a museum dedicated to those whose stories are often overshadowed by the likes of Madeleine Astor and Molly Brown.


Stop Five

Our last adventure in Cobh was a walk down to the Titanic Memorial Gardens. While the gardens were a little underwhelming, but the walk was nice and we happened to be there on one of the rare sunny days in Ireland. I even managed to get somewhat of a tan! If you want to see the gardens, be aware that they are a bit out of town – the signs kept telling us how long of a walk it would be, but it definitely felt like a bit longer. I would say it's about 15-20 minutes each way, but the walk is easy, and it’s a nice quiet place to reflect.

Annie Moore and her brothers – Annie was the first person processed on Ellis Island when it opened in 1892


After that, it was back to the train station and back to Cork for the evening. We grabbed dinner at Nando’s, where I went all out for my dinner, then we poked around some shops. Then it was back to our Airbnb for a rousing game of Cork Monopoly and a cider before bed.

Make sure to check out Cobh on your next trip to the south of Ireland. Its charm is unparalleled and it has the best seaside town vibe. Don’t forget to grab some brunch at Seasalt while you’re there!


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