If we found Cork a little colourless yesterday, we had no such problem with its neighbouring port town Cobh today.
A large proportion of the bright paint in Ireland has ended up here, and the town enthusiastically stresses its 90 minute-long Titanic connection.
We joined local historian Michael Martin on a Titanic Trail tour . Cobh (pronounced ‘cove’, we now know) was the last port of call for the Titanic. Back on Thursday April 11 1912, 123 unfortunate passengers boarded the ship here, and 7 extraordinarily lucky ones disembarked.
The ship was in and out of Cobh harbour in a mere 90 minutes, never docking, with the boarding passengers and mail ferried out to it in smaller craft.
There was just enough time for someone to take a photo of the ship, before it headed towards the iceberg.
‘Cobh was the Heathrow Airport of its day,’ says Michael. Until the 1960s when air travel took over from sea travel, most people emigrating from Europe to America would pass through Cobh.
So it gives us pause to realise that most of those people would never have expected to return to Europe. They hoped for a better life, but knew they’d never see family, friends or homeland again.
Cobh is no longer an important commercial harbour, but it benefits from being the first port of call for tour ships from America. The harbour buildings are little changed since the beginning of the last century.
Thanks, Michael, for an entertaining and sometimes moving tour.
For details on the Titanic Trail Tour, click here.
The writer was the guest of Failte Ireland.