The port town of Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown, was the departure point for millions of Irish emigrants who left the country between 1848 and 1960. Housed in the town’s Victorian train station, the center chronicles the often-heartbreaking journeys of Irish emigrants during the Great Famine and beyond.
The Cobh Heritage Centre houses the Queenstown Story, an exhibition covering the maritime and naval history of the area. The exhibition also tells the story of the many millions of emigrants who left Ireland, some in search of new lives in America, and others—typically convicts—banished to far-away British colonies, such as Australia. Visitors in Cobh can prepurchase skip-the-line tickets and explore the exhibition with the aid of an audio guide.
The Cobh Heritage Centre is often visited as part of organized day trips from Dublin, during which participants travel by train and explore both Cork and Cobh. Some shore excursions from Cobh include a visit to the Cobh Heritage Centre too.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cobh Heritage Centre is a must for history buffs and anyone with an interest in Irish emigration.
- The center houses a café that sells hot and cold drinks, hot meals, sandwiches, and more.
- Free Wi-Fi is available at the center.
- The center is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Cobh Heritage Centre is situated adjacent to Cobh railway station in Cobh, County Cork. Visitors coming from Cork City can ride the train from Kent Station to Cobh. Most large cruise ships dock at the port in Cobh. Cruise passengers disembark directly onto the wharf, which is just a few steps from the center.
When to Get There
Cobh Heritage Centre sees its highest number of visitors in the summer season. The center is particularly busy when cruise ships are in port, the majority of which arrive between April and October. To save yourself waiting around, prebook a skip-the-line ticket.
Cobh’s Titanic and Lusitania Connections
Cobh is also known for its connections to two ill-fated ocean liners: the RMS Titanic and the RMS Lusitania. Cobh was the final port of call for the Titanic before it set sail across the Atlantic. The town was also involved in rescue efforts relating to the Lusitania, a British cruise liner that sank off the southern coast of Ireland in 1915 after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Both of these events are explored at the Cobh Heritage Centre.