Cobh is a small seaport town in County Cork, Southwest Ireland. It's on Great Island in Cork Harbour. In the era of transatlantic travel it was the first and last port in Europe and it was the last port for the Titanic in 1912. It consequently played a major part in the story of Irish emigration to America. Originally known simply as "the Cove of Cork" it started life as a small fishing village but began to row rapidly when the British established naval fortifications in the area during the Napoleonic Wars. Later it was the country's largest emigration port with over 1.5 million emigrants passing through on their way to a new life, mostly in North America. In 1849 the town was renamed Queenstown following a visit by Queen Victoria but in 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, the town adopted a gaelicised version of "cove" and Cobh became the town's name.
The town faces the sea in rows of terraces rising up the steep hillside, dominated by a tall and handsome 19th century St. Colman's Cathedral, designed by Pugin.
Cobh (Pronounced Khov) is on an island in Cork Harbour, connected at the north end by a bridge to Fota Island at Belvelly which is connected to the mainland by another bridge.
Cobh can be reached by Cork's only suburban railway . By road, Cobh is 20km from Cork City, crossing the bridge to the island. Cobh is 40km from Kinsale. From there, it takes an hour, and requires taking a €4 car ferry that runs from 7AM-11.45PM. Don't take the wrong ferry, which goes to France, the one to Cobh is poorly signposted.
There is a limited bus service around the town which is mostly used by older people and those living in outlying estates for shopping.
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The Taxi Rank is in Pearse Square and it is possible to travel anywhere on the Great Island for around €10 max (2011 price). All taxis have meters fitted and must by law operate them whilst on a journey. Taxi companies include Anthony Cannon at 086-8621783, Cove Cabs (kiosk in town centre, Tel: 481 2299), Barry's Cabs (Tel: 087-6195283) and Harbour Cabs (Tel: 481 4444). Island Taxis Cobh Telephone: 021-481 1111.
All of the hotels serve food. Good food can also be enjoyed at restaurants including the excellent Trade Winds on the waterfront which looks like an ordinary bar at the front. The Indian Kitchen, serving Indian food is on East Beach near the yellow clock tower. There is a chinese restaurant, the Hong Kong on West Beach opposite the pier while Mimmos is a restaurant attached to the fish & chip shop on Pearse Square but providing a much wider range of food than simply fish and chips. Mimmos is also an excellent takeaway and other takeaways in the town include the Good Food Company and the Ocean Palace chinese restaurant on Midleton Street at the back of town. The Bella Vista Hotel also operates a chinese restaurant and takeaway. Additionally there is also the WatersEdge Hotel (next to the train station and Hertiage Centre) which comprises of Jacobs Ladder Restaurant and Bar. Here it has beautiful views of the Harbour to enjoy with an extensive A La Carte Menu or some light snacks. Also when Cruiseliners are in the hotel gives fantastic close up views as the liners berth on the Hotels Pier.
There are many excellent bars in Cobh to enjoy a drink, whether you prefer a quiet atmosphere or music.
Most of the bars (pubs) are located around Casement Square in the town centre, including:-
The Rob Roy, Casement Square(modern music, live acts especially at weekends). The Rob Roy is also the official meeting place of the local U2 fan club.
The Mauretania, Casement Square - named after the famous ocean liner, the Mauretania is small and cosy.
The Lusitania, Casement Square - another cosy bar but a bit more spacious. Like many local bars it has a maritime feel with lots of photos of old ships and ships paraphernalia.
Ryans, Casement Square - similar in size to the Lusitania
Tarrants, Casement Squre - more of the same.
Kelly's Bar is located at Westbourne Place near the Commodore Hotel. It is a spacious but small bar and one of the busiest in town. Popular with sports fans, it has a number of large screen televisions and a mezzanie area.
'The Quays is across by the waterfront and also serves excellent food. Located between the Promenade and the Railway Station.
Heading back towards the eastern end of town are three pubs:- Connie Doolans, East Beach - again a maritime theme and overlooking the sea. It is popular with tourists for its olde-world charm.
The Well House, Lynch's Quay - located on the waterfront near the eastern end of town. Music, especially at weekends. Popular with the younger set.
The Anchor Bar, East Hill - the last pub in town and you will have to climb a steep hill to reach it but the view from there is worth it. Enjoy stunning views of Cork harbour while you sip your drink near the window.
The centre of town gets quite busy (and sometimes noisy) on Friday and Saturday nights so if you want a quiet drink and a chat it's better to head to the back of the town, up that mountainous hill, the area is known locally as the "Top of the Hill". Here you will find the following bars:-
The Quarry Cock, Bond Street - nice "local" bar with lovely pine timberwork. About 200m behind the Cathedral.
Jack Doyles, Midleton Street - just around the corner from the Quarry Cock. Popular with sports fans, especially fans of Celtic Football Club which has its local supporters club here. Named after the famous boxer, crooner and Hollywood actor Jack Doyle who was from Cobh.
Gilmores, Midleton Street - old style pub with modern clientele. This was previously in the hands of the Mansworth family for over 100 years.
The Roaring Donkey, Midleton Steet - a lovely old pub at the very top of the hill. Front bar is quite small but widens out at the back. Live traditional music on a regular basis.
The Wolfe Tone Bar, Wolfe Tone Street / Roches Row: a bit off the Top of the Hill to the east of the cathedral. settled clientel and not many visitors as its hidden away at the back of the town. Cosy bar with a real coal fire and a friendly atmosphere.
Further afield than these bars you will probably take a taxi. The other bars on the Great Island are:-
The Village Inn, Newtown - a big bar, popular with all age groups, and also has its own established clientele. Live Music each week, space for events and parties and also an area to play darts. Take the first left after the water ferry on the road into town.
Peg's Bar, Carrigaloe - old style bar, traditional music every Saturday night with impromptu sessions on Sundays and whenever the local musicians decided to have a get together.
The High Chapperal, Ballymore - about 3.5km from the town centre in the quiet rural area of Ballymore. Music at weekends and popular with card players.
The town is served by several doctors' surgeries and a number of dentists. For out-of-hours doctors service contact South Doc, Telephone: 1850 335 999. Dr.Cahill's dental surgery provides out of hours dental surgery in case of emergency. Call 087 27 64 755 for out of hours service only.
There are several pharmacies / chemist shops in the town and the operate a 24 hour service by rotation.
Police: The Garda (Police Station) is located about 300 metres west of the railway station on the Lower Road and is open 24 hours a day. The phone number of Cobh Garda Station is 490 8530 or for emergencies dial 999 or 112.