Emigration & Maritime stories at Cobh Heritage Centre

10 things to see and do at Cobh Heritage Centre, Cork

No trip to Cork would be complete without a trip to the Cobh Heritage Centre, Co. Cork, one of the key destinations of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Whether you are interested in tracing your ancestors, learning more about the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania, or immersing yourself in our naval and military history, Cobh Heritage Centre has it all and lots more.

Located in Cobh’s beautifully restored Victorian railway station, the Heritage Centre has plenty to offer for tourists, families and maritime history enthusiasts.

Top 10 things to do and see at Cork Heritage Centre

1. Learn about Irish emigration and the mass exodus during The Famine: 
An informative and emotive story of Irish emigration and our legacy all over the world is dramatically recalled at Cobh Heritage Centre’s Queenstown Story exhibition.  Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease. Between 1845 and 1851, over 1,500,000 people emigrated from Ireland.  Many famine emigrants went initially to British North America (now Canada), but the majority subsequently settled in the United States.

2. Explore life on board a coffin ship and convict ship
See a replica of life on board a coffin ship, which many emigrants travelled on in search of a new life in a land of opportunity.  Many more departed involuntarily as convicts to Australia or as forced labour to the colonies and the West Indies on convict ships – known as the forgotten Irish.  You will also get to experience the horrendous conditions they endured.

3. See a message in a bottle sent from The Titanic & a replica of the ill-fated ship:
Cobh was the last port of call for The Titanic, which departed on 11 April 1912 with 1,308 passengers and 898 crew members. Cobh Heritage Centre’s colourful and informative displays will take you back in time to learn more about the ill-fated ship.  Throughout the exhibition, there are many individual stories to be found such as that of Jeremiah Burke and the message in the bottle he sent from Titanic, and Fr. Frank Browne whose photos on board Titanic survived. You will also see a large replica of The Titanic.

4. Visit the upgraded Lusitania Exhibition
Cobh Heritage Centre recently upgraded their Lusitania exhibition, so you can learn all about the ocean liner that was sunk by a German torpedo on its way from New York to Liverpool on 7 May, 1915. Cobh was at the centre of rescue efforts, and launched a flotilla of rescue boats, saving 761 people. 

5. Immerse yourself in Cork’s Maritime, Naval and Military History
Cobh is one of the world’s finest natural harbours.  The Queenstown Story relays stories about the maritime, naval and military history of the area, the fortification of the various forts in the harbour such as Hawlbowline naval base, Spike Island (the Alcatraz of Ireland) and Fort Camden, and takes you on an emigration journey from the 1600’s right through to the 1950’s.


6. See the Aud Anchor from 1916
The anchor from the Aud gun running ship recently went on display at Cobh Heritage Centre as part of the 1916 commemorative events.  The Aud was sent by Germany with 20,000 rifles and a million rounds of ammunition to assist the 1916 insurgents but was intercepted by the Royal Navy in Tralee Bay. Its captain, Karl Spindler, decided to scuttle the ship in Cork Harbour while it was being escorted to Cobh, then Queenstown.


7. Learn about Annie Moore, the first emigrant at Ellis Island
Learn all about Annie Moore, the first emigrant ever to be processed at Ellis Island on 1 January 1892.  The statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers outside Cobh Heritage Centre is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cobh. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York, representing the honour of being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island and standing as a symbol of the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey. 

8. Research your Irish family history:
Research your Irish ancestry by booking a session with Cobh Heritage Centre’s resident genealogist.  They offer a Genealogical Family History Research Profile where you can obtain a detailed custom-made analysis of all Irish records relevant to a particular ancestor.  If you are interested in availing of this unique genealogical service, it is advisable to book an appointment to avoid disappointment.  There is a charge of €50 for a one hour session.

9. Ahoy Cruise Liners
As Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, the Deepwater Quay just outside Cobh Heritage Centre is the berthing dock for a vast number of luxury cruise liners.  The Exhibition highlights advances from the early coffin ships to latter day luxurious transatlantic liners.

10. Events, Festivals, Live Music
Cobh Heritage Centre offers lots of events, festivals and live music throughout the year.  The venue can be booked for private tours, corporate events, dinners, promotions, photo shoots, and concerts.

After visiting the exhibition or while you are waiting for a cruise liner, make sure you sample the delicious delights in Cobh Heritage Centre’s restaurant. 

More recently, Cobh Heritage Centre has introduced audio guides in different languages for overseas visitors, and lots of old photos from the National Library.

For more see www.cobhheritagecentre.com , call 021 481 3591 or email info@cobhheritage.com.  

There’s lots more to see and do in Cobh town, so it’s the perfect day out.  See www.visitcobh.com for more.