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Part 3 - Cobh (Cork), Ireland

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Part 3 - Cobh / Cork, Ireland

The next morning, we woke up in Ireland, and during breakfast at the Ocean View Café, we passed the proverbial green landscapes of Ireland until we finally docked in Cobh at around 10.00 am.

Green hills, colorful houses, and above it all the majestic St. Colman Cathedral overlooking the town. In 1912, this was also the last land view of the Titanic passengers, who set out from here to its fateful voyage across the Atlantic. For many, it should be their last.

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The memory of the Titanic was omnipresent. On the hillside above the pier, a large mural commemorated the anniversary in 2012.

Directly below was the town’s little train station, which we reached in less than 2 minutes after leaving the ship. At the platform we bought return tickets to Cork at EUR 10.00 person. We didn’t have to wait long until the train arrived.

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With regard to Hildegard’s limited mobility, we grabbed a taxi for 6 at Cork station, which took us downtown for only 7.00 Euro.

For starters, we visited the „English Market“ in the heart of town.

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I love this type of covered market. Especially when it doesn’t primarily serve tourist purposes, but when the town’s locals come here themselves. The colorful range of goods, the fresh fruit, the fish counters with the distinctive smell and the tantalizing looks of the cheese shelves are a wonderful kaleidoscope of photo opportunities for me. The chats between the merchants and their often familiar customers, a laugh here, a trade of latest gossip there ... I always enjoy such insights into the life of a town.

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In the maze of the many aisles I noticed an elderly couple at a butcher’s stall. The butcher and the couple were talking excitedly in the unmistakable local dialect trading the latest news of the day.

I asked whether I could take a photo, to which the butcher mischievously replied “Only if you are good at it, because I am darn good looking.”

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I stayed for a few minutes and chatted with this lively trio, before all of us said good bye and wished each other well with smiles on our faces.

After we had left the market hall, we continued our tour through town where we found the houses and pubs around Oliver Plunkett Street to be as colorful as the displays of the market stalls.

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We crossed one of the bridges to reach the north bank of the River Lee.

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Here we admired the beautiful facades of the Victorian Quarter around MacCurtain Street and the Palace Theatre.

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We crossed the River Lee again and were back in the shopping area around St. Patrick’s Street with its beautiful side streets.

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On our way into town I had asked the taxi driver whether he could recommend a pub which wouldn’t be touristy. He didn’t have to think long and mentioned the Costigans, where he went regularly himself. That’s where we headed next.

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His tip was spot on. At the Costigans we were greeted with genuine Irish hospitality. The pub was almost empty and only a few locals found their peace and quiet here. The hostess greeted us immediately with a warm and friendly welcome, and we felt comfortable straight away.

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It goes without saying that we had to try a few local specialties as our merry group recovered from the tour.

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When it was time to go back, the friendly landlady called a taxi which took us back to the station. We were lucky, just a few minutes later the next train was ready for departure and took us back to Cobh, right in front of our ship.

Birgit’s parents went back on board, and Ursula, Wolfgang and the two of us walked through the town of Cobh, which was only a few minutes’ walk from the pier and the train station.

Cobh’s history is closely linked to seafaring. You could feel it everywhere. Not only in “The Promenade”, the town’s park, which was dominated by the bow of our Eclipse that day.

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Everything in the center of this pretty town was related to seafaring, as arms and names of the pubs as well as old plaques on the walls illustrated.

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One way or another, Cobh is linked to the two probably most tragic events in the history of seafaring, which are also remembered here. An old building of the White Star Line, various museums with reconstructions of decks and cabins as well as a memorial plaque recall the RMS Titanic, whose last stop was here in Cobh (then Queenstown) on November 4th, 1912. Her then maiden voyage should also be her last journey. Driven by ambition and a sense of invincibility, this journey was to raise the prestige of the shipping company. But in the night of April 14th to 15th, 1912, it came to an abrupt end.

After the Titanic hit an iceberg which damaged the ship that was said to be unsinkable, she sank in the freezing North Atlantic and claimed 1514 lives.

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In a square in the center of town you cannot miss the “Lusitania Peace Memorial”, which commemorates the second maritime tragedy. On her way from New York to Liverpool, the Lusitania was sunk by a submarine of the Imperial German Navy off the coast of Queenstown on May 7th, 1915. 1196 victims lost their lives. The survivors and the dead were taken to today’s Cobh, and many of the deceased were buried here.

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Our next destination was the impressive St. Colman Cathedral, watching over the town from high above.

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We admired the detailed neo-Gothic elements on the Cathedral’s richly ornamented facade as well as inside the building.

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From a courtyard of the church we enjoyed the view of the Eclipse and the colorful houses of Cobh.

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We continued our tour towards the ship in a big arch across the other side of the hill and delighted in many details and beautiful views along the way.

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And soon we were back at our beautiful ship and the statue of Annie Moore directly in front of it.

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On January 1st, 1892, Annie Moore, a 15 year old girl from County Cork made headlines as the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island. She is honoured by statues on both sides of the Atlantic at Ellis Island National Monument, New York Harbour and at the Corbh heritage Centre, Ireland.

She is cited in story, song and history books, memorialized in dolls collector´s plates and holiday ornaments. Her image will forever represent the millions who passed through Ellis Island in persuit of the American Dream, and is a symbol for immigrants of all nations that have contributed to the rich fabric of the United States.

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The terminal building also serves as the Cobh Heritage Center. Built in the style of the time, it houses not only shops and a café, but also exhibitions of the great tragedies, the wave of emigration as well as the convict ships sailing to Australia from here.

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Then it was time to return to our ship, which was comfortable not only in comparison, and which had many amenities of which nobody in those days could have dreamt of.

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We were at the Sunset Bar when we set sail. With the obligatory blowing of the horn and in pleasant light, we said good bye to Ireland and went past the colorful hills past the Celtic Sea towards Iceland, the highlight of this trip.

 

 

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Soon, our hunger led us back to Blu, the culinary ending of the day, where our attentive waiters Joseph and Peta were already waiting for us with our usual table.

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Today, we decided to have our nightcap at the cozy Cellar Masters bar. Although it’s really a wine bar, the waiter instantly offered that he would also get us drinks from another bar, if we wanted. Helmut and Wolfgang took the opportunity to round off the evening with a glass of Irish Jameson Whiskey. While we were comfortably enjoying our drinks in the cozy armchairs of our bar, other passengers took to the dance floor in the Centrum.

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