Cobh Heritage Center is a unique place where we explored the conditions on board the early emigrant vessels, including the dreaded “coffin ships,” the biggest port for emigration in Ireland and the last stop for the Titanic.
Cobh was formerly called Cove when the town was founded but in the 1800’s the name was changed to Queenstown, by the British until Ireland regained control in the 1921 and change back to Cobh. It was renamed Cobh because there is no “v” in the Gaelic language.
For almost 100 years over 6 million people emigrated from Ireland and about a third departed from Cobh. Cobh was the first main port in Ireland for emigrants. During the famine, in Ireland is when the most Irish emigrated to what was initially the British North America (now Canada) with many finally settling in the United States.
At the Cobh Heritage Center, they give you a Passenger Ticket with a name from one of the ships sailing from the port; each has a story behind it. I received the ticket for Annie Moore. Annie Moore and her brothers were the first ever emigrants to be processed at Ellis Island when it opened on January 1st, 1892. Annie and her brothers sailed on the SS Nevada on the 20th of December after 12 days of traveling in steerage (3rd class). There is a statue outside the Cobh Heritage Center commemorating the first emigrants from Ireland. On Ellis Island, there is a similar statue of Annie Moore symbolizing the many Irish who have embarked on the very same journey.
The port of Cobh was the last stop for Titanic. The Titanic was only in Cobh for a few hours, 123 people boarded only seven got off. One story told was of the small village of Lahardane in Ireland. This smallvillage in County May had the biggest loss of life from any one area on the Titanic. For many years the community could not speak of the Titanic since it was so heartbroken about all of the locals that were lost. Now on every anniversary of the Titanic sinking on April 15th, the church bells ring at 2:20 in the morning. The bells ring for 11 times for each person from the village that died and then three more bells for the three survivors.
The Cobh Heritage Center has so much history of emigration and the well-known events of two passenger ships the Titanic and the other the Cunard Line Lusitania, which was supposed to have a port of call in Cobh but sank off of Kinsale after being struck by a German torpedo. The surviving passengers were ferried to Cobh (Queenstown at the time) to be brought to local hospitals to be cared for. The other unique service that the Cobh Heritage Center offers is a genealogical search for anyone wanting to research their Irish heritage. The center is situated on the beautiful Cork Harbour.
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