Southeast of Cork City, Cobh was the most significant port in Ireland for trade and a major port-of-call for travelers. The first steamship crossing of the Atlantic started in Cobh in 1838. Interestingly, it was also the departure point of more than 2.5 million emigrants who left Ireland as a result of the great famine (1844–48). Emigration lasted for nearly 100 years, during which time over 6 million Irish people fled their own country for work and a chance at a better life.
Cobh was christened “Queenstown” following a visit by Queen Victoria in 1849. Because it was the world's largest natural harbor, it was one of the most important merchant stopover points on the globe. Its importance lead to the construction of notable naval bases and was a port-of-call for luxury liners, including the last stop of the Titanic before its doomed crossing.
To learn more about the history of the region, visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, which details “the Queenstown Story” (021 481 3591,
The Titanic Trail (021 481 5211 or 087 276 7218,
North of the Great Island is Fota Island, which houses the Fota House and Gardens (021 481 5543,