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Sabin’s on the Sea 2023 - Day # 20 - Cobh and Cork, Ireland

by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog

It is amazing how many countries we have been to on this 35-day Viking, Voyage: Boston and Maine, USA; Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; Paamuit and Nanortalik, Greenland; Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; Shetland Islands, Scotland; Rotterdam, Netherlands; and today we add Cobh and Cork, Ireland, to places we have visited. 

Our ship has also cruised through eight bodies of water: the Atlantic Ocean, Labrador Sea, Prince Christian Sound, Denmark Straight, North Atlantic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, North Sea, and the English Channel.

These are only places and bodies of water I have seen on maps. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would have such an incredible experience. 

What truly is fascinating is we still have six more ports to go. It has an unbelievable journey. 

Some people are wondering if we miss home. Yes, we miss our family, friends, community, and kitties, but as seasoned travelers we learn to stay in the moment and appreciate every opportunity we receive. 

Our exploration started around 8 am today when we departed the Zuiderdam. The train station was adjacent to the port. It was such a smooth process to get round trip tickets to Cork.

Cobh is such a small town, we decided it would be better to go to Cork and adventure through the larger city first. 

Cobh serves as the gateway to Cork. Between 1848 and 1950, 2.5 million immigrants left their homeland and departed from Cobh in search of a better life in the United States. 

It is also famous for being the last port of call for the Titanic (Queenstown). 

Cork is about 24 minutes by train from the port and the cost is 3.5 euro per person. The train runs every 30 minutes. 

Cork’s origins dates back to the seventh century. It had a flourishing period in the 18th and 19th centuries as a merchant center.  Today Cork is a thriving community with grand buildings, university quarter, stores, restaurants, bars, and pubs. 

John created a self-guided walking tour for us from his research. This route included the famous historical sites of Cork. The tour began from the Cork Kent Station. 

The walk continued to St. Patrick’s Street, which is the main shopping street in Cork and a great place to find souvenirs and local goods.

The next place on the walking tour was the English Market. This market has been selling fresh produce, meats, and other goods since 1788. Today they even have booths that serve sushi. Not something I think was sold in 1788.

As we continued walking through Cork we admired the  river that runs through the city. The River Lee takes its name from corcaigh, the Gaelic word for “marshy”.  

Along the water we saw flocks of seagulls flying above the water and ducks swimming and searching for food. 

The old architecture of the buildings are so interesting to observe, especially the churches. 

We went into the St. Peter and Paul church filled with wonderful woodworkings and stain glass.

Another church we admired was St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. The statue on the outside each represents a specific meaning from the Bible, such as: the wise virgins and the foolish virgins. You could look at the building all day just to see what each carving on the outside represents. It is seven euros per person if you want to go inside. 

We also visited the Elizabeth fort, which was a very key place at the time it was built several hundred years ago. 

The Shandon Bells are a famous landmark in Cork and when the church has the bells ringing it you can hear them throughout the city. 

Being in Ireland, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to go to a pub and have a local beer and cider. Since the weather was misty all day and the drizzles were getting a little harder it was a perfect time for us to get a pint. 

Ryan’s Bar was definitely a local pub. Lots of men having their late morning draft around 11:00 am. I was the only woman in the whole bar. What I found truly funny as it seemed to be a very masculine place, but the music playing in the background was from Mama Mia. 

Before heading back on the train to Cobh, we had a nice lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant, Arba. John had a chicken shawarma and I had a lamb doner. Not the traditional Irish food, we hope to enjoy that in Belfast, Ireland tomorrow. 

Wifi is pretty easy to obtain. In Cork most restaurants have free wifi and the train also has wifi for the passenger’s convenience. In Cobh, wifi is available right on the street next to the Cobh Heritage Center and JFK park and pier. 

As I mentioned earlier, Cobh is a very small town. The main attractions to see are: Cobb Heritage Center that for a fee you can read about the history of Cobh, including its role as a major emigration during the 19th and 20th centuries; the Titanic Experience, which is a museum that tells the story of the Titanic and its ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912; Cobh water front where you can view from the JFK park and pier; and the oldest Catholic Cathedral in Ireland, the Cobh Church of St. Colman.

It only took us about 20 minutes to walk the entire town. After Cork, we were pretty tired and ready to get on the ship; plus the fog was coming in and it was getting harder to see anything. 

Tonight’s entertainment is going to be a traditional Irish show. We know it’s going to be good.

Tomorrow we are at another port in Ireland-Belfast. We can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful country. 

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