Cobh’s picturesque Deck of Cards is like something from a glorious postcard that you just have to see to appreciate. It has been called and compared to San Francisco’s Painted Ladies and for a good reason.
Welcome to 1-23 West View, Kilgarvan, Cobh, Co. Cork. 23 unique row of houses that is truly a Cobh icon and an eyecatching Ireland attraction.
West View or Barrack Hill has a downward slope that cuts to the Casement Square and main street of the Town Centre and opens up to the natural waters of the Cork Harbour. You can see why this place is suitable for what used to be Barrick Hill Ball Run and Big Ball Uphill Challenge to benefit local charities.
I’ve walked this one way street a few times. Ascent is always a workout and descent is an exercise of gravity control. Parking available on the house side – handbrake not optional.
Under blue or grey sky, these colorful gabled houses has been around since the 1850s and were already standing when the RMS Titanic boarded the 123 passengers on the port of Queenstown (old name of Cobh) on April 1912.
Houses + Spire + Water = a view to kill for. I once read that these 23 houses are considered collectors’ item. With preservation orders in placed, the Deck of Cards could possibly be the most photographed place in Cobh and maybe in Ireland. Interesting trivia: Cobh was voted one of the 25 most beautiful small towns in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler on 2019.
Midway through the hill, there is a tidy park right across these houses. A memorial to the 7 Signatories of the 1916 Proclamation is also at the park ground. Worth a stop to catch your breath on the lovely bench where you can see the majestic St Colman’s Cathedral in the background. And yes, a picture-perfect spot for that selfie that you have waited all along. Snap away and smile.
There’s a local town joke that when the bottom No.23 house crumbles, it would carry the other stacked houses with it. The Deck of Cards is sometimes fictionalized but the truth is it has stood for more than 150 years, and as a local it is my belief that you just cannot just take away the charm of this 23 beauties.
Here are a few FAQs and tips to make your visit enjoyable and stress free.
- There are residents on these houses. Please observe courtesy when photographing.
- If you are coming from Town Centre, look for the arch building at Casement Square and head up the hill.
- At the top of the hill, walk to the right and at the end of the street you’ll see St Colman’s Cathedral on the right.
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