It took us until almost noon to cover the 180 nautical miles from Liverpool. A great excuse for a lazy morning. Suite guests were invited to the helicopter pad for what they called a sail-in. This location far forward in the ship gave us beautiful views of this modest port tucked against a hill.
A statue of 15-year-old Annie Moore and her two brothers greeted us as we got off the ship. She was made famous in stories, history books, and collectors’ items like plates, dolls, and holiday ornaments because she was the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island. She, like 2.5 million of the 6 million Irish who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950, sailed from here. Cobh had earlier been a major embarkation port for men, women, and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia.
Two ships are sadly associated with Cobh. The Titanic stopped here to take on the final 123 passengers for her maiden voyage across the Atlantic. Forty-four survived to tell the improbable, tragic tale of the invincible ship striking an iceberg in April 1912. In May 1915, 1,198 passengers on the Lusitania died when it was sunk by a German U-boat. The 700 survivors as well as the dead were brought to Cobh. The bodies of over 100 who perished in the disaster lie buried in the Old Church Cemetery. We saw the touching Lusitania Peace Memorial in Casement Square and visited the Titanic Memorial Garden.
Most of our fellow passengers used Cobh as a jumping off place to see other things, but we decided to have two easy days on our own. Day one found us roaming aimlessly around the small town popping in and out of shops and enjoying the charm of the seaside town of lowrise pastel-colored building, small shops, a busy waterfront, street musicians, and interesting museums. The huge cathedral completely dominates the skyline and indicates a rich and prosperous history not evident by its quiet charm today. We saw a sign for hot ice cream donuts that read, “It’s like a donut, but it’s an ice cream, but it’s a donut, and it’s hot.” Shockingly we did not succumb. We did however have tea and a scone at a tiny tea shop near the cathedral.
16,500 steps, 7.5 miles, and 43 flights of stairs later I sat down to what I decided was a well deserved dinner of wild mushroom broth, octopus, short ribs on beans, coconut cremeux, and coffee. Full disclosure: Miro, our Serbian waiter, had to talk me into the octopus and it was fabulous. Not tough and chewy, but moist and flavorful.
A fun Irish program of traditional music and tap dance ended our day.
Day two in Cobh found us in the small town of Midleton having tea and scones before taking a morning tour of the Jameson Distillery. Neither of us are whiskey drinkers, but we enjoyed walking around the old stone buildings, learning about the process, and looking at the equipment. The major surprise is that whiskey is made from what I would call immature beer. A taste test ended the tour. We got to compare Jameson, triple distilled and matured in seasoned oak casks, with the U.S.’s Jack Daniels, single distilled and matured in new casks, with Scotland’s Johnny Walker, doubled distilled and matured in seasoned oak casks. We did actually like Jameson the best.
We took a 35 Euro cab to the distillery but met a nice Canadian couple who had figured out the light rail system and showed us how to get back on the train for 6 Euro each. The train station is right at the dock, so it was easy peasy to walk to the ship.
This evening’s place cards read Food Critic (Ronnie), Where is He? (Walter), LaP (Hettie), The Princess (me), The Glue (Cleone), and The Man (Dan). Walter’s going to have trouble giving this job away!
As is our routine, we met for cocktails at 4:30 and had a lovely dinner at 6:00. Acrobatics was the entertainment at 9:00 with comedian Al Ducharme at 10:30. Before bed we set our clocks ahead an hour.
…FOR THE INSATIABLY CURIOUS…
Cobh is pronounced Cove.
Butler, a well known chocolate brand in Ireland, is produced by old-money Butlers. Cleone’s maiden name is Butler, so when we’re in Ireland she lords it over us
and refers to them as ‘her people.’
Halloween was derived from an Irish festival called Samhain which marked the end of harvest season and the start of winter. The souls of the dead were thought
to return to the homes of their families.
Saint Valentine is buried in Whitefair Street Church in Dublin.
The White House was designed by Irishman James Hoban who
won a competition in 1792.
2 thoughts on “Cobh, Republic of Ireland (August 22-23, 2019)”
Thank you for sharing all those interesting facts as well as the fun ones at the end! There is some tragic history in Cobh. 😢
You are so welcome Leni. All but the last day is done. I am waiting for Dan to give the poem he wrote so I can include that.