"" Writer's Wanderings: Cobh Heritage Center, Ireland

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cobh Heritage Center, Ireland

Cobh is known as the city with three names. Originally its name was Cove, named because it was located in the cove of the harbor of Cork. But after 1849 it became known as Queenstown, named after Queen Victoria who visited the town. It seems Victoria loved to change the names of places she visited. Over the course of our visit in Ireland, we found lots of Queens Streets and names with Victoria in them that stem from her visits all over Ireland. But in 1920, it took back its original name only in the Irish form, Cobh. The name change occured at a time when Ireland was establishing its freedom from British reign.

The American connection to Cobh is through a young woman named Annie Moore who left this port on a steamship, the Nevada, on the 20th of December, 1891 with her two brothers bound for New York to join her parents who had already immigrated to the U.S. On the first of January, 1892, she was the first person to be processed at the brand new facility just opened on Ellis Island. For the distinction, she received a $10 gold piece.

Many Irish immigrated from this port to escape the extreme poverty brought on by the potato famine in the 1840s. When families or members of families decided to emmigrate to America, the remaining family and friends would hold what they called an American Wake. Now we all are familiar with the stories of Irish Wakes. These were the same type of celebration--dancing, singing, fiddling, and drinking. Quite a send off.

Cobh is also connected to the famous ship, the Titanic. This was her last stop before setting out for New York. With our fascination for all things Titanic, we couldn't pass up the chance to go through the exhibit that was set up. Since Cobh was not a deep water port, the ship had to anchor in the outer harbor and provisions and last minute passengers, both first and second class, were loaded by way of tenders. Enterprising shopkeepers also used small boats and tenders to take their fine linens, lace, and souvenirs out to the huge ship so they could sell their wares to the wealthy passengers on board.

One of the exhibits was set up to look like one of the staterooms. While I don't think this was the finest accommodation, judging from the fur in the box on the bed it had to be at least one of the first class or second class. Certainly not steerage. And certainly not what today's cruiser experiences.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...