|— Town —|
|Motto: Statio Fidissima Classi (Latin)|
|Dáil Éireann||Cork East|
|Elevation||47 m (154 ft)|
|• Urban||9,530 (Census.ie)|
|• Rural||7,986 (Census.ie)|
|Irish Grid Reference||W793666|
Cobh (// KOHV, Irish: an Cóbh), known from 1850 until 1920 as Queenstown, is a popular tourist seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. Cobh is on the south side of Great Island in Cork Harbour and almost 100,000 cruise liner passengers and crew arrive in the town each year when their ships berth right in the centre of the town at Ireland's only dedicated Cruise Terminal. Tourist attractions are focused on the immense maritime and emigration legacy of the town. The Queenstown Story Heritage Centre, Titanic Experience, Titanic Trail walking tour, Cobh Museum, Cobh Road Train, Spike Island tours and St Colman's Cathedral provide plenty for visitors to see and do. The town has remained virtually unchanged since RMS Titanic departed from Cork Harbour in 1912, with the streetscape and piers still much the same. Facing the town are Spike Island and Haulbowline Island. On a high point in the town stands the magnificent St Colman's Cathedral, and its carillon of forty-nine bells.
The port, which has had several Irish-language names, was first called "Cove" ("The Cove of Cork") in 1750. It was renamed "Queenstown" in 1850 to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria.[clarification needed] This remained the town's name until 1920, when it was renamed Cobh by the new authorities of the Irish Free State. Cobh is a Gaelicisation of the English name Cove and has no meaning in the Irish language.
According to legend, one of the first colonists of Ireland was Neimheidh, who landed in Cork Harbour over 1000 years BC He and his followers were said to have been wiped out in a plague, but the Great Island was known in Irish as Oilean Ard Neimheadh because of its association with him. Later it became known as Crich Liathain because of the powerful Uí Liatháin kingdom who ruled in the area from Late Antiquity into the early 13th century. The island subsequently became known as Oilean Mor An Barra, (the Great Island of Barry & Barrymore) after the Barry family who inherited it.
The village on the island was known as Ballyvoloon, overlooking "The Cove" and this was first referred to as Cove village in 1750 by Smith the historian who said "it was inhabited by seamen and revenue officials". The Cork directory of 1787 shows about thirty businesses in the town including one butcher and one draper. The Water Club established at Haulbowline in 1720 was the progenitor of the present Royal Cork Yacht Club (now based in Crosshaven) and is the oldest yacht club in the world. The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) was based for many years in Cobh and the present Sirius Arts Centre was formerly a clubhouse of the RCYC organisation. In 1966 the Royal Cork Yacht Club merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club, retaining the name of the RCYC but moving its headquarters to those of the RMYC at Crosshaven at the other side of the harbour.
Cobh is well served by pubs and hotels and leisure facilities which include the newly built Coral Leisure Center. The oldest recorded pub on the island is reputed to have been the "Anti Gallicon" situated in the Holy Ground, and apparently liable to flooding when the tide came in. This pub dated back to the 1780s and was named after opponents to the French "Gallicon" faction who opposed the powers of the Pope.
Cove underwent rapid development in the early 19th century assisted by world events. Due to its naturally protected harbour Cobh has historically been important as a tactical base for naval military bases. For instance, Cobh was of major tactical military importance as a naval base during the Napoleonic wars between France and England. Today, the Irish Naval Service is based on Haulbowline island facing Cobh. It has eight ships based there, all armed with canon mainly supplied by Bofors, as well as twin Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 autocanons. They are also equipped with small arms, including GPMG's. LÉ Eithne is the biggest at almost 85 metres (278 feet) long. She also has a helipad.
The Napoleonic Wars meant the town became a British Naval port with its own admiral and much of the present day buildings were built. The cessation of hostilities dented its prosperity for a time but it became widely known as a health resort and many convalescents came to Cove to avail themselves of its temperate climate. Amongst these people was Charles Wolfe who wrote "The Burial of Sir John Moore After Corunna" and whose remains are buried in the Old Church Cemetery outside the town.
One of the major transatlantic Irish ports, Cobh was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. On 11 April 1912 Queenstown was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage. She was assisted by the PS America and PS Ireland, two aging White Star Line tenders, along with several other smaller boats delivering first-class luggage. Local lore has it that a Titanic crew member, John Coffey, a native of Queenstown, jumped ship, although there is no record of him on the crew list. 123 passengers boarded in all; only 44 survived the sinking.
Cobh was also a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The records of such deportations can be found in the ship log books in the Cobh Museum, which since 1973 is housed in Scots church (Presbyterian church until 1969 closure) overlooking the harbour.
Due to its maritime advantages a significant shipbuilding industry developed in Cobh, and the remnants of the Verolme Shipyard today maintain many of the original cranes and hoists now forming part of the significant industrial and maritime heritage of Cobh considered to have major tourism potential. Under-utilised dockyards in Holland (e.g. NDSM/Stichting Kinetisch Noord in Amsterdam which has been redeveloped as an artistic and cultural centre and where MTV has since located) and other European countries are now emerging as major hubs of cultural and economic development, focusing on fostering creative class and knowledge-intensive industries such as media and computing. . The Verolme Shipyard currently contains the Philip Gray Gallery of Fine Art .
The age of steam brought famous achievements to Cobh, most notably the first steam ship to sail from Ireland to England (1821) and the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic (Sirius 1838) which left from Passage West. In 1849 the name of the town was changed to Queenstown, to honour Queen Victoria who had visited Ireland that year.
Several other notable ships are associated with the town, including:
- The Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat off the Old Head of Kinsale while en route from the US to Liverpool on 7 May, 1915. 1,198 passengers died, while 700 were rescued. The survivors and victims were brought to Cobh, and over 100 lie buried in the Old Church Cemetery just north of the town. The Lusitania Peace Memorial is located in Casement Square opposite the arched building housing the Cobh Library and Courthouse.
During World War I, Queenstown was a naval base for British and American destroyers operating against U-boats that preyed upon allied merchant vessels. Q-ships (heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks) were called "Q-ships" precisely because many were, in fact, fitted out in Queenstown. The first division of American destroyers arrived in May 1917, and the sailors who served on those vessels were the first American servicemen to see combat duty in the war. When the convoy arrived in port, after a rough passage in what were little more than open boats, its members were met by a great crowd of sailors and townspeople thankful for their help in stopping the U-boats that were blockading western Europe. The British Commodore met the captain of the American flagship by jumping onto the dock and asking him how soon the weather-beaten American ships could be put to use. "We're ready now, sir!" was the widely-quoted answer from the gallant American.
Due to its tactical military importance, under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921 the port remained a UK sovereign base, see Treaty Port. Along with the other Treaty ports it was handed over to the government of the Irish Free State in 1938.
Demography and people
The population of the Cobh area has increased greatly in recent times with large new housing estates established on the outskirts of the town, placing severe pressures on the transport infrastructure. The town boundary has not yet reflected these changes in order to accommodate the new housing developments in areas such as Rushbrooke and Carrignafoy. Cobh is gradually becoming a satellite town to the nearby Cork City, reflected in the commuter train service and the Carrigaloe–Passage car ferry.
- Haulbowline Island which faces Cobh town is the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service, formerly a British naval base.
- Cobh was home to Ireland's only steelworks, the former state-owned Irish Steel works which was closed by its buyer, Ispat International, in 2001. There is a controversy over the slag heap on the steelworks, where there are concerns that it may be leaching into the harbour.
- Tourism is a large employer in Cobh. Large cruise liners visit Cobh each year, mainly during the summer months, although many of the tourists are transported out of Cobh by bus to other tourist destinations.
- Another important employer in Cobh had been the Dutch-owned Verolme Cork Dockyard, in Rushbrooke. It opened in 1960 and ceased operations in the mid-1980s. In 1981 the mvLeinster was built at Verolme for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route. The last ship built at Verolme was the Irish Naval Service's LÉ Eithne (P31). Some ship repair work is still carried at Rushbrooke using the impressive drydock and other facilities. The drydock pumps are reputed [according to whom?] to date from 1912. Since the end of the 'Tiger Boom' Cobh has suffered like many other towns. Over 20 local businesses which include shops, restaurants and pubs have closed down. Unemployment is running very high in the town as is many other towns and the town is losing a lot of trade.
Outside of the Dublin metropolitan area, Cobh is one of the few towns in Ireland served by a commuter train service. The town is one of two termini for Cork Commuter Services. The other is Midleton. Regular commuter services run between Cork city and Cobh, calling at, among others, Fota railway station, Carrigaloe railway station, and Rushbrooke railway station, along the way.
- Nearest airport Cork Airport which can be reached in 20–30 minutes from Cobh accessible by the R624 road and the N25 road.
- The Port Operations Centre for Cork Harbour is located in the town including the Harbour pilot base at the Camber.
A Major upgrade of the R624 road is planned with the construction of a new bridge (replaces old Belvelly bridge) and a new road from Belvelly in the North of Cobh, to Tullagreen where the R624 road joins the N25 road from Cork City to Rosslare at the N25 Carrigtwohill-Cobh Interchange.
Local government and politics
Cobh Town Council is the local authority governing the town of Cobh. It consists of nine elected Councillors who work with the administrative, executive and technical staff, led by the Town Manager. The Town Council has a wide range of functions in order to serve the people of Cobh. As of June 2009 the political make-up of the council is 3 Labour Party, 2 Fine Gael, 1 Fianna Fáil, 1 Sinn Féin and 2 independent councillors. The contact details of current Cobh public representatives are found on the website of the Cobh Town Council. The town is also part of the Midleton Electoral area for elections to Cork County Council and is in the Dáil constituency of Cork East.
Leisure and commercial activities have improved in recent years:
- In February 2008 building of the new retail park in Cobh (Ticknock) took place.
- The new Coral swimming pool opened in August 2007, in January 2009 Coral Leisure group went into administration. The swimming pool was closed but a break through came in June 2009 when Coral Leisure group began to operate the pool and Leisure Centre.
- There were plans to build a new marina in front of the town, but it is unclear if this will go ahead.
- Since late 2008, when the recession began, Cobh has seen a boom in new retail, restaurants and fast food openings. Many of these were in construction or planned before the economic downturn commenced.
- Cobh has many schools including Colaiste Muire secondary school and Cobh Community College. In 2010 a planned new school development was drawn up by the Department of Education and Skills to cater for the high population and need for good education in the town.
- In the summer of 2010, tours of the famous Spike Island in the Harbour commenced. The tours leave from Kennedy Pier, near the centre of the town. Spike Island has hundreds of years of historical significance, from its early beginnings as the site of a monastery to it being the last view of "home" seen by many Irish prisoners before they were transported to Van Diemen's Land, today known as Tasmania.
Arts and festivals
- The main hub for the arts in Cobh is the Sirius Arts Centre located on the waterfront. It hosts many cultural events both in house and around Cobh.
- The Cobh Peoples Regatta is held every year around August. It is the cultural highlight of the Summer. The event traditionally includes on-stage performances from local musicians and performers as well as a Cobh pageant to decide the 'Regatta Queen' for the coming year. The festival ends every year with a fireworks display over the Harbour at 10pm. It attracts up to 20,000 people and is known widely around Ireland and the UK
- Cobh is the setting of the 2009 Connor McPherson film The Eclipse
- Anne Elizabeth Ball (1808–1872) and Mary Ball, (born Cobh, 15 Feb 1812), sisters who were pioneering scientists motivated by curiosity who contributed to the knowledge of Irish flora and fauna. They are noted as eminent scientists in the history of phycology
- Robert Ball, (born 1 April 1802, died 1857). Brother of Anne and Mary Ball. Zoologist.
- Captain Thomas Brierley, awarded a medal for outstanding gallantry for his heroic part in the rescue of Lusitania victims.
- Patsy Donovan, US major league baseball player
- Charles Guilfoyle Doran - Fenian and Clerk of Works throughout the building of Cobh Cathedral. Lived in the town most of his life.
- Jack Doyle, boxer, actor and crooner
- Robert Forde, (1875–1959) Antarctic explorer
- Maeve Higgins, comedian
- Stephen Ireland, Aston Villa footballer
- Sonia O'Sullivan, silver medalist in the 5000 m race at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
- Fergus O'Rourke, Zoologist was resident in Cobh while Professor at University College Cork
- Dr. James Roche Verling, personal physician to Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile in St. Helena
- Joseph Wheeler, 19th century founder of the Rushbrooke ship yard
- Roy Keane, former Manchester United footballer, started his professional career with Cobh Ramblers
- Patrick Walsh (bishop) Emeritus bishop of Down and Connor was originally from here.
- Cobh Pirates RFC are the town's rugby club. They compete at Junior 1 and Junior 2 level as well as having many under age teams. They play their home games at 'The Paddocks' which is located in an area known as Newtown. The facility boasts a fully equipped gym along with two full size playing pitches, a training pitch and a rubber training surface, (The only one of its kind in the South of Ireland). The 2009/2010 season was a particularly successful one for the club as the Junior 2 side won every competition they entered. The Cobh Pirates Ladies team is a new development since 2010. This is a major development for ladies rugby in both the town and Munster. Some of the current squad have begun training with the Munster ladies team.
- Cobh's most successful football team is Cobh Ramblers, the club where Roy Keane made his name and earned a transfer to English side Nottingham Forest, as well as where Irish international footballer and Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland started his career with Springfield Ramblers, the underage section of the club. Cobh play their home games at St Colman's Park, located on the Western side of the town. The ground has a capacity of 5,500 (both seated and standing) and in recent years it has seen major investment and development both on and off the pitch. Cobh Ramblers' most successful season came in 2007, when they were promoted to the League of Ireland Premier Division, the highest tier in Irish football, for the 2008 campaign; however they were relegated at the end of their first season competing at that level. Ramblers currently play in the League of Ireland First Division along with south rivals, Waterford and Wexford. Cobh also had a brief spell in the Newstalk 'A' Championship.
- Cobh Golf Club has a new 18-hole championship course at Marino on the main road R624 into the town.
- Rushbrooke rowing club is also a very successful club in Cobh.
- The inaugural Escape from Spike Island Triathlon was held in 2012 and was a resounding success. The 2013 event will take place on 4 August with both Olympic and Sprint course options.
- Cobh GAA is the centre for gaelic games such as hurling and gaelic football, and is located at Carrignafoy
- The inaugural Cobh 10 mile road race took place on 18 April 2010 on the streets of Cobh and the roads of the Great Island. Called the Great Island 10, it was instrumental in raising much-needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society.
- Springfield AFC. Based at Pat O'Brien Park, Ballyleary, Cobh. Caters for both junior and senior football.
Cobh Wanderers play in the Munster Senior League First Division.
- Cobh is home to the oldest existing tennis club in Ireland, Rushbrooke Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club founded in 1870.
- Kolbuszowa, Poland
- Ploërmel, France
- Cruzeiro, Brazil
- Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA
- Pontarddulais, Wales
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cobh|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Cobh Tourism
- Cobh Heritage Centre
- Titanic Experience, Cobh
- Cobh Ramblers FC Forum
- Cobh Community Care - Day Care Centre and Housing for the elderly
- Cobhnet.com - business & community directory with online Forum
- Cobh Golf Club
- Irish Rail Cobh railway station website
- Cobh & Harbour Chamber of Commerce
- Cobh Sirius Arts Centre
- Cobh Museum
- Christmas in Cobh
- Cobh Town Council
- 'Bureau of Military history, Dublin - Witness Statement of Seaus Fizgerald TD, Chairman of Cobh Urban Council (1920-24) pages 21-22
- "Steel plant to close despite cost reduction deal". Eurofound.europa.eu. 2001-07-28. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Eithne P31". Iol.ie. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- See Joseph Wheeler (shipbuilder)
- "Cobh station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Ball | Robert | 1802-1857 | naturalist, president of the Geological Society of Ireland". Nahste.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- [dead link]
- "Cobh, County Cork, Republic of Ireland". Pontarddulais Town Council. 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2013-03-26.