If you are looking for a cute, colourful village to visit in Ireland than look no longer than Cobh in county Cork. Cobh, which is pronounced cove is a perfect day trip from Cork or, if you prefer small towns, a great place to spend a night. Best known for being the last port of call to the Titanic, Cobh is loved by history enthusiasts and those who have an interest in the world-famous ship. However, while the Titanic history may be a huge draw, it’s not the only reason to visit Cobh. Cobh has plenty to offer and is one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland. Ready to learn more? Here are the best things to do in Cobh, Ireland.
The Best Things to do in Cobh
The Titanic Experience
If you only do one thing in Cobh, make sure that it’s the Titanic Experience. Guests are given the identity of one of the 123 who boarded the Titanic from Cobh. With a guide you are taken on a virtual tour of what it was like on the Titanic. You’ll also get to see Heartbreak Pier- which was the original pier from which the passengers departed. At the end of the tour (which lasts 30 minutes) you will have time to explore the exhibition on your own and find out if your passenger survived.
Since The Titanic Experience is one of the best things to do in Cobh it does get busy so go here first and if you can’t get in right away, put your name in for a different time slot and come back.
The Titanic Trail Walking Tour
For those who have a keen interest in the Titanic and its history, you may want to take a guided tour of the Titanic Trail. On this tour you will step back in time to Cobh as it was during the time of the Titanic and see some of the main spots associated with the ship. The tour only lasts one hour and is a fun way to learn more about the history of Cobh and the Titanic. Book your Titanic Trail Walking tour here.
St. Colman’s Cathedral
St. Colman’s Cathedral, also known as Cobh Cathedral, stands majestically on the hill overlooking Cobh and Cork Harbour. The construction of this Roman Catholic Church began in 1867 but wasn’t completed and consecrated until 1915. The tower has a carillon of 49 bells making it one of the largest in Europe
The Cobh Museum is a small museum but definitely worth popping into- especially if you have ancestors from the area. A lot of the exhibitions are maritime and emigration related and you can also find the last written record for the Titanic here. One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is the, admittedly small, genealogy section where you can do some family research.
Cobh Road Train
Hop aboard this colourful little train to tour around Cobh. It’s a great way to site-see especially for older or young visitors who may struggle with all of the hills. The trip lasts about 50 minutes, includes a historical commentary from your driver, and includes two photo stops. There are 8 trips per day and you can find the train outside of the Titanic Building. Learn more here.
Port of Cobh and Cork Harbour
The waterfront harbour in front of Cork city is where you can get some of the best views of this small Irish town. The brightly colourful houses and buildings wind their way up the hills. At the top, the impressive St. Colman’s Cathedral towers above them all. It’s a great spot for photos or just to relax and enjoy the views on a sunny day. If you are feeling up for an adventure, you can also hire a boat from Cork Harbour Boat Hire and tour around the waterfront to get even better views.
Spike Island is Ireland’s version of Alcatraz. The star-shaped fortress was one home to 2300 prisoners but today is opened to tourists looking to explore this unique attraction.
Spike island can be reached by ferry from Cobh. It takes about 15-20 minutes each way and it’s recommended that you allow about 3 hours to explore. Booking your tickets online is highly recommended. You can learn more here.
A Haunted Titanic-Themed Ghost Tour
If you decide to spend the night in Cobh and are looking for something to do before hitting one of Cobh’s pubs, then consider a haunted tour. Cobh may be small, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its fair share of spooky stories. Join your guide and step back in time and into the haunts of Cobh’s paranormal activity. Book your haunted tour of Cobh here.
The Best Day Trip to Cobh
Cobh makes a great day trip and can easily be done from Cork as either a half day or a full day trip. There are a number of tour operators who offer a visit to Cobh in combination with a visit to Blarney Castle but, I honestly think it’s better to do it on your own. These day trips to Cobh only allow for a short time to visit and are not guided. So really, you’re just paying for the transportation and someone to make sure you get back on the bus in the end.
By doing a day trip to Cobh on your own, you can explore at your own pace and even save a few bucks. After all, the train from Cork to Cobh is pretty inexpensive and easy to use. More on that below.
Getting From Cork to Cobh
Getting from Cork to Cobh is actually quite easy and can be done in thirty minutes of less. If you have rented a car for your stay in Ireland, then it’s easy to drive and not have to worry about following a transportation schedule. However, if you don’t have a car, you can easily travel to Cobh by train which only takes about 25 minutes. The train leaves every hour (sometimes every half hour depending on the season and time of day).
The train station in Cork, Kent Station, is about a 10-minute walk from the heart of Cork city centre. Cobh train station is less than a five-minute walk from Cobh town.
Once you have arrived in Cobh, it’s small enough to warrant exploring by foot. However, there are some pretty steep hills so take your time if needed.
You can find the train schedule online here.
The Best Hotels in Cobh
Cobh is a perfect day trip destination, but it’s also a good spot to spent a night too. Once the day-trippers have left, Cobh has a much more local feel which is fun to experience. If you would like to spend the night, here are my recommendations for the best hotels in Cobh.
Cobh may be small, but it’s absolutely worth a visit especially if you are planning a visit to Cork. From it’s history with the titanic, to it’s picturesque colourful houses, and of course the friendly Irish pubs, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Cobh.