Irish history: visiting the Cobh Heritage Centre

Cobh - Jerome Connor's Lusitania Peace Memorial, ©informatique/Flickr

Cobh – Jerome Connor’s Lusitania Peace Memorial, ©informatique/Flickr

During the second part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century many people left Ireland in hope to start a new life on the American continent. About 3 million people left Cobh during this time who aimed towards the American dream on the board of the Titanic, the Lusitania and other ships.

The town of Cobh is a charming little settlement which is dominated by the St. Colman Cathedral and it is also home of the Cobh Heritage Center. Here you can walk the Titanic Trail and learn more about Irish history, the emigration and the large ships which left with so many people but did not get to their goal.

The story of the Titanic

The Titanic was built and designed mostly for wealthy people who wanted to cross the ocean and travel to America. At Cobh Heritage Center you can view the many records and artifacts related to the famine ships the Lusitania and the Titanic.

Cobh - The Last Port Of Call For The Titanic, ©informatique/Flickr

Cobh – The Last Port Of Call For The Titanic, ©informatique/Flickr

When one hears the word Titanic the first things that pop into mind are the fine cutlery, monogrammed linen and lots of luxury, although not all passengers travelled in such conditions. Among the most interesting exhibits you will find a note from a young 19 year old boy called Jeremiah Burke who lost his life when the ship sunk in the middle of the ocean in 1912. The note had only a few words: “From Titanic, Goodbye All, Burke of Glanmire Cork”.

Cobh Railway Station/ Heritage Centre, ©interbeat/Flickr

Cobh Railway Station/ Heritage Centre, ©interbeat/Flickr

The Lusitania

The Titanic wasn’t the only ship sailing off towards America with hundreds of Irish immigrants. The Lusitania also set out in hope to take its passengers to a new land but unfortunately it sank off coast as it was torpedoed by a German submarine in the year of 1915. Cobh Heritage Center preserves the memory of this tragic event as well… The Lusitania set sail only a few years later after the Titanic, from New York towards Liverpool. This was still during WWI when the Atlantic was a dangerous area.

Cobh - Jerome Connor's Lusitania Peace Memorial, ©informatique/Flickr

Cobh – Jerome Connor’s Lusitania Peace Memorial, ©informatique/Flickr

The ship sank in a few minutes in the calm and shallow water. Cobh came to the rescue and tried to save as many lives as possible but they managed to save only 761 souls. Over a thousand people died and about 900 were never found. Later on some of the lost bodies have been recovered, which have been buried in the Old Cemetery of Cobh. You can visit the memorial in the heritage center.

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