Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cohb and Cork, Ireland

Our ship docked right in downtown Cohb, a picturesque little port on the Irish coast!

Cobh isn't as well known as it should be. It tends to be eclipsed by it's larger neighbor, Cork. Adding to the obscurity, Cobh was know as "Queenstown" from 1849 (when Queen Victoria paid a visit) until 1922 (when the Irish Free State was founded and the town's original name was restored).
You might know Cobh (Queenstown then) as the last port of call for the Titanic before she began her ill-fated voyage in 1912. Just three years later, the Lusitania's was heading for Cobh when she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, helping to move USA and some of the other neutral nations toward joining Britain in the "Great War".

Cobh's port saw the passage of millions of Irish sons and daughters bound for USA, Canada, and other countries of the "Irish diaspora" during the years of the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849). Those same years saw ships entering the port from all over the world, laden with foodstuffs donated to relieve the famine.

The town contains memorials to all these events. (It's a great town for memorials, and no less picturesque because of it.)
From Cohb we caught a train to Cork, which vies with Dublin to be "THE" Irish city.

Case was more than relieved to discover the Irish natives friendly when he found, to his chagrin, that he'd brought British pounds instead of Euros onto the train to pay for things -- like the train ticket. (Think about trying to use old South Vietnamese currency in today's Vietnam for some sense of his consternation.) Fortunately for us, the conductor was understanding of these silly cruise-ship sheep and simply advised us to change our money and buy our ticket when we got to the station (which we did).

Cork is much more the bustling metropolis. Here, we learned less about history and more about life in Ireland. Most of this we learned by ambling around, looking for steeples and other interesting landmarks.

In the process, we managed to find public market. (And what better place to learn about Irish life?)

Mmmm....fresh bread....where's the plastic wrap?!

Case takes a few minutes to find our location on the map....one of the hazards of wandering around town! (Could he be searching for a place to sample Irish coffee?)

Steeplechase is a fine tourist sport, don't you think? We wandered around St. Fin Barre's Anglican Cathedral, built in 1862. This site has been home to a monastery since the 7th century.

the interior....

....and the rose window.
(... and then it was time to get back to Cobh and our ship ...)

1 comment:

Dancing on the ceiling said...

It's great to get to travel along with you. Thanks for the pictures and stories!