Things to do in Cobh Ireland

Top things to do in Cobh on your next short break

Cobh Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Cobh Ireland

Best Things To Do In Cobh And Beyond

If you are in search of a vibrant town in the heart of East Cork, then challenge yourself to visit the colourful town of Cobh! The intricate detailing of the neo-Gothic St. Colman’s Cathedral will leave you in awe, with the history of its construction spanning several decades. 

Moreover, if you are a Titanic enthusiast, then there is no better place to visit. In Cobh, you can immerse yourself in the full Titanic experience, tracing the footsteps of the passengers who journeyed from this very port to embark on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the legendary ship. 

With a vast array of attractions and sites to explore, Cobh is the perfect destination for a short break in Ireland, where you can pause and savor the rich cultural heritage of this charming town and create memories that will last forever.

Cobh’s fascinating history

The cobblestoned streets of Cobh, County Cork, are steeped in history, with a particular focus on its poignant emigration and maritime story. At the Cobh Heritage Centre, you can lose yourself in the dramatic exhibition, which brilliantly captures the origins, history, and enduring legacy of the town. 

The centre also tells the remarkable tales of the ill-fated Titanic and Lusitania, showcasing the significant role that Cobh played in Irish emigration.

As you retrace the steps of 2.5 million adults and children who emigrated from Ireland through Cobh on coffin ships, early steamers, and finally on the great ocean liners, you will discover the real stories of some of the 6 million emigrants who left Ireland from 1848 to 1950. This period of time transformed Cobh into the single most important port of emigration in Ireland.

The conditions on board the early emigrant vessels, including the dreaded coffin ships, were harsh beyond belief, and the experience of life on board a convict ship leaving Cobh for Australia in 1801 was equally as challenging. 

To really understand what it was like, you must immerse yourself in the audio-visual displays that bring the stories of these brave men and women to life and feel their strength, endurance, and heartache throughout history.

No visit to the Cobh Heritage Centre is complete without hearing the inspiring story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant ever processed at Ellis Island. And as you exit the centre, be sure to take a few moments to view the stunning statue that stands outside, commemorating her remarkable story.

Titanic Experience Cobh

Titanic Experience Cobh

The Titanic, undoubtedly one of the most tragic and infamous maritime disasters of all time, has captivated audiences around the world for generations. From Hollywood blockbusters to the countless books written on the topic, the story of the ship and the people on board has remained a topic of fascination for people all over the globe. 

Now, visitors to the beautiful city of Cobh can delve even deeper into this story by taking a trip to the incredible Titanic Experience. This interactive museum offers an incredible array of displays and audio-visual exhibits that will transport you back in time to the ill-fated voyage. 

Here, you can learn about the passengers who boarded the Titanic in Cobh, including Jeremiah Burke, who famously wrote the final message ever to leave the ship. This is an experience that is certain to stay with you for a long time to come.

Titanic Walking Trail

Cobh is a town with great historical and cultural significance, and there is no better way to explore its fascinating diversity of military, maritime, and social heritage than by taking an engrossing historical walk. 

This walk will take you through the real buildings, streets, and piers that witnessed the embarkation of the Titanic passengers. You will learn about the dark history of Spike Island and how it was used for convict transportation. In addition, you will enjoy breathtaking views of one of the world’s largest natural harbors. 

This walk promises to be an unforgettable experience that will give you a unique insight into the rich and varied history of Cobh. So why not take a step back in time and experience this historic town in all its glory?

St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh

St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh

When in Cobh, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit one of its most remarkable and iconic landmarks – St. Colman’s Cathedral. Built-in 1911, this stunning work of neo-Gothic architecture is truly a sight to behold. The intricate details of the cathedral’s roof and the beautiful stained-glass windows are nothing short of breathtaking.

But the cathedral’s beauty extends beyond its architectural design. Its location on the magnificent Cork coastline provides truly awe-inspiring views of Cork Harbour, the Atlantic Ocean, and the surrounding area, making it one of Ireland’s most picturesque churches.

In addition, St. Colman’s Cathedral is not just a tourist attraction. It continues to hold regular religious services and often hosts world-renowned choirs for recitals, offering visitors a unique cultural experience.

One of the most interesting features of the cathedral is its 100-meter-high spire and a tower that boasts a 49-bell carillon, one of the largest in Europe. Be sure to listen out for the iconic bell gong on Sundays and special occasions.

Finally, if you’re a photographer, make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to capture an iconic image of St. Colman’s Cathedral set against the colourful and famous houses in the area. Visiting St. Colman’s Cathedral is truly an experience you won’t forget anytime soon!

Ballycotton Lighthouse and Tours

Ballycotton Lighthouse

A 10-seater passenger ferry is ready to transport you to the enchanting and unspoiled Ballycotton Island, which has previously been inaccessible to many visitors. 

You will have an exclusive chance to embark on a visitor experience called ‘Yassy’, where you can explore the rich, historical, and natural heritage of the island.

One of the most unique and striking features of the island is its black lighthouse, which is one of only two in all of Ireland. Skilled and knowledgeable guides await, ready to accompany you up the majestic lighthouse tower and onto the bright red lantern balcony. 

From there, you will be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of the fabulous Ballycotton Bay and beyond. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as until now, only the lighthouse keepers and their families – who resided there for over 160 years – had the chance to enjoy these magnificent views. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity!

Spike Island

Spike Island

Spike Island is an impressive location on Cork’s natural harbour, situated just a short 15-minute ferry ride from the charming heritage town of Cobh in County Cork. 

The island holds a captivating and significant history, with over 1,300 years of Irish culture for visitors to explore. From the island’s use as a prison and fortress to its time as a monastery and home, visitors can uncover the secrets of a bygone era through the multiple museums, island walks and prison cells at their disposal.

On their journey, they’ll discover the 7th-century monastery founded by St. Mochuda along with stories of smugglers and pirates who made the island their home. The island’s formidable 24-acre “Fort Mitchel,” built in 1779, became the most massive prison in the world during the famine of the 1850s. 

Visitors can witness the conditions that earned the prison the moniker of “Ireland’s Alcatraz,” where 1,300 souls remained buried in mass graves with no headstone.

The island’s museums and exhibitions showcase its military, monastic, social and penal past, and visitors can witness stunning views as they complete the ‘Ring of Spike,’ a 5km walking trail with interpreted signage. With a complimentary map and app on arrival and an included guided tour accompanied by Ireland’s best storytellers, Fortress Spike Island provides visitors a unique experience they won’t forget. 

Please visit www.spikeislandcork.ie for sailings and opening times and access the island by ferry from Kennedy Pier in Cobh.

Lusitania Monument and Graveyard

Lusitania Monument and Graveyard

The tragic event that took place on May 7th, 1915, during the First World War, remains etched in the history books. The Cunard Liner, the Lusitania, sailing off the Old Head of Kinsale, was torpedoed by German forces, leading to the tragic death of 1,198 out of 1,959 people on board. 

With over 2,000 passengers on board, less than 800 survived the incident, and this resulted in many of the victims being buried in the Old Church Graveyard in Cobh. The sinking of the Lusitania became an event that turned public opinion against Germany, not just in Ireland but also in many countries worldwide. 

It also drew America into the First World War. The Old Church Graveyard in Cobh remains as a reminder of the horrific events of that day and a symbol of the courageous acts of the fishermen who tried to rescue the people on board. 

Today, the Monument in Casement Square stands as a commemoration to all those who lost their lives on that fateful day and serves as a poignant tribute to the victims of one of the most infamous events of World War I.

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Cobh Museum

Cobh Museum

Cobh Museum is a must-visit attraction located in the picturesque coastal town of Cobh in County Cork. The museum is situated in a former Presbyterian Church that offers breathtaking views of the mesmerizing Cork Harbour. 

Step inside this impressive structure and witness the marvels of its well-preserved interiors. You’ll immediately notice the pulpit, lectern, harmonium, and original Bible that have been retained, adding to the charm of the museum. 

Cobh Museum showcases numerous exhibitions that reflect the town’s vibrant social, maritime, and cultural history, the Great Island on which the town stands, and the history of Cork Harbour. Marvel at the stunning paintings by famous marine artists, intricate model ships, and explore the mementos of religion, music, domestic, and sporting life. 

You’ll also have access to numerous photographs that take you back in time, offering a glimpse of two centuries of life in the town that is known by three different names: Cove, Queenstown, and Cobh. This experience is a true treasure that you wouldn’t want to miss!

Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park is an awe-inspiring place located on the serene Fota Island, situated in the heart of beautiful Cork Harbour, Ireland. This exceptional park is a part of the Zoological Society of Ireland and covers a vast area of 100 acres, making it a prime destination for nature enthusiasts to witness free-roaming animals and birds from around the world. 

The park is approximately 10KM from Cork City, making it easily accessible for touring visitors by rail or their car. Every trip to Fota Wildlife Park will undoubtedly be exceptional as you get up close with a kangaroo hopping just in front of you, or a ring-tailed lemur jumping down from a tree, leaving you with unforgettable memories. 

The recently opened Asian Sanctuary is a must-see as it’s home to Asian lions, Sumatran tigers, Indian rhinos, Warty pigs, Visayan spotted deers, Lion-tailed macaques, and Red pandas. Fota Wildlife Park is dedicated to conservation and breeding programs that help restore populations of some of the most endangered species worldwide.

Visit Cobh Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Market

Cobh Farmers Market is an absolute gem worth visiting for anyone who loves fresh food and the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling market. Held every Friday in the charming town of Cobh in County Cork, this delightful event has something to offer to both locals and visitors alike. 

As you wander through the market, you’ll be greeted by an abundance of stalls showcasing an impressive variety of East Cork’s finest produce, including delicious fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and much more.

But that’s not all – at Cobh Farmers’ Market, you’ll also have the opportunity to indulge in some tasty international street food, from mouth-watering Indian curries to Mexican tacos and Italian pizza. 

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, the market also boasts an impressive selection of handcrafted wares created by talented local merchants.

So come and experience the charm of Cobh Farmers Market for yourself! Held every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm along the picturesque promenade of Cobh, this is a perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon with family and friends.

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Frequently Asked Question

The main reason to visit Cobh is the colorful houses, sea views, impressive cathedral, Titanic journey, and traditional pubs. We can’t fail to mention the immigration history as Cobh was a departure point for millions of Irish immigrants on their journey to the New World and other corners of the world.

 
 
1 hour
 
We recommend you allow at least 1 hour for your visit to Titanic Experience. You will spend approximately 40 minutes with one of our knowledgeable guides, who will share stories of our passenger’s journey on board the Titanic from when it arrived in Cobh to its tragic sinking just three days later.
  1. Get that iconic ‘Deck of Cards’ shot.
  2. Visit St. Colman’s Cathedral.
  3. Grab breakfast at Leonardo Cafe Kimbo.
  4. Explore the Harbour.
  5. Visit Spike Island.
  6. Enjoy the Titanic Experience.
  7. Indulge at Aunty Nellie’s Sweet Shop.
  8. Ride the Cobh Road Train.

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Discover Irish Isle offers a range of resources to help visitors plan a trip to Ireland. Our blog post highlights the best things to do in the area and provides insider tips to ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience. 

We encourage you to explore our social media channels as well, where you can find additional information and travel inspiration. Trust our team of experts to guide you through the planning process and provide you with the tools you need to fully immerse yourself in the culture and attractions of Ireland.

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