For a small town like Cobh, two days or a weekend should be long and meaningful enough to experience the many attractions it has to offer. This heritage-rich town is also a perfect getaway to be on a seaside destination. The Cork Harbour has been bringing trade, commerce and tourism since fishing and commercial vessels has been plying the waters this side of the atlantic.
On an earlier post, we navigated you through a fun and productive day in Cobh: this time around we are pulling all the sights and activities that we think would make your visit a truly amazing and enjoyable one. As locals, this recommendations are also something that we would suggest to our families and friends on their stay.
9:30 a.m. Cobh Heritage Centre – Any friend or visitor who ask for recommendation, we always say to start their visit on the Heritage Centre. The brick building next to the Cobh train station and Cobh cruise terminal has historical infos about Spike Island, Irish Emigration, Potato famine, Titanic and Lusitania tragedies, and other local history. What you would see are exhibits on the events that shape the present day Cobh, and to be honest, you would appreciate your visit on our town more if you know a little history of ours.
The museum ticket is bookable online and we recommend the earliest time so you can make the most of your time on your first day. After spending 30 minutes to an hour inside, you can either have a quick snack on their cafe and then head out for the wonderful Waterfront walk towards the town centre, or take the historical Titanic Trail walking tour at 11:00 a.m.
If you take the first option, then you have ample time to do the 12 pm ferry to Spike Island.
The Titanic Trail walking tour is an in-depth and fascinating walk on the places associated with the Titanic’s last port of call in Cobh and can takes an hour at least. If you do this, we suggest booking the Cobh Cultural Tour on the Heritage Centre website because this would give you the best value and price for this combo package. For your Spike Island tour, you would then have to take the 1 pm. (Please note that the 1300 – 1630 Spike Island tour is only available during July to September, and also always check their updated tour and times at their website.)
12:00 – 15:30 or 13:00 – 1630 pm Spike Island (July – Sept M-S, Oct – Nov Sat-Sun) – Depending on the time you choose, the journey starts at Kennedy Pier for a scenic ferry ride of Cork Harbour towards Spike Island. Voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards, Spike Island has been a monastery, a fortress, a prison and an island home. Today it is a leading tourist attraction not just in Cobh but also in the whole province of Cork.
Aside from the regular tour, Spike Island also has an After Dark, Behind the Scene, school and group tours and other special tours. As for snack, there is a cafe that serves soups, sandwiches and refreshment in the island, and picnic areas should families prefer to eat outdoors.
After finishing the recommended 3 1/2 tour, you still have a good part of the afternoon and early evening to do some exploration on other Cobh sites. This is also the perfect time to head up to the hill and have the proper picture taking on Cobh’s instagramable locations.
Deck of Cards – the 23 colourful houses in West Hill Rd. is a Cobh icon and is a favourite spot for the perfect souvenir photo of our town. Midway through the hilly street is West Hill Park where you can shoot the houses with St Colman’s Cathedral in the background.
St Colman’s Cathedral – Whether you are looking up from the Town Centre or right on church ground, St Colman’s Cathedral is a marvel of engineering and architecture. After your photo shoot at Deck of Cards, walk all the way up the hill and visit this gothic giant. It is free to enter and to check the amazing interior and hear the 49 bell carillon of the tower.
Bible Garden – A very short walk from the church is a quiet area for reflection. The Bible Garden is inside the St Benedict Priory and is the right place to sit down, rest those legs and reflect for a while. This is also a beautiful spot with a nice view of St Colman and Cork Harbour.
Pub – For your evening finale, try one of our traditional pub and have a pint and food at the hillside pub or at the foot of town. Cobh prides itself with some old pubs that still carry its old world charm so be sure to bring the craic.
9:00 am Titanic Experience – For a change, your second day will be more relaxed and not as pack as day one, so set your time according to your pace. We recommend booking the opening time of 9:00 a.m. for the Titanic Experience though, again so you would set yourself for a lot of sightseeing later.
Titanic Experience Cobh is one of the main reasons people visits Cobh. The audio visual exhibit is housed inside the original White Star Ticket Line Office where the last 123 passengers went through to board the fateful ship. There’s a particular focus on the passengers here that makes their stories come alive, for example the disparity between first and third class passengers. There’s also a very moving cinematographic recounting of the sinking and a mystery behind the name of the passenger on your ticket.
Titanic Memorial Garden – Time to take a leisurely stroll to the beautifully maintained and free Titanic Memorial Garden. The Glass Memorial where the 123 passenger names (79 of whom perished) are inscribed is the true highlight of this garden. Come sit on their benches, relax and remember them as you watch the shimmering waters of Cork Harbour in the distance.
Free Afternoon (Suggestions):
Shopping, ice cream or pub at Town Centre – Whatever your heart desire, you have the whole afternoon to just chillax, do your own thing and at the same time feel the vibe of our lovely seatown.
Old Church Cemetery – Outside of town centre, Cobh’s Old Church Cemetery is an interesting and quaint place to visit. Check out the old headstones and metalworks, statues of saints, famous locals and the 3 mass graves of the Lusitania victims.
Fota Zoo and Gardens – Fota Zoo and Gardens lies just outside Cobh and is close enough to go by car or train. Kids would love this major zoo in Cork and renowned family attraction in Ireland. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon watching wild animals from around the world like giraffe, lion, cheetah, rhino, penguins and many more in this enclosed haven.
So that’s it, two days of the best attractions in Cobh that we can squeeze without packing your day too much. The many suggestions on your afternoon is mostly do-it-your-own activities and can be done according to your pace and time. Thank you for reading and we hope we have given you an itinerary that you can design on your two day visit.
*Get updated with some Cobh news here.