Orlaith (pronounced Orla) Mc Carthy is Tourism Ireland’s Public Affairs Executive based in Dublin, but she’s originally from Cobh, Co. Cork. Orlaith enjoys politics, baking and exploring new places.
Cobh is such a wonderful place to visit and it is even more spectacular when the sun is shining. Having lived away from my home town, Cobh (formally known as Queenstown) for over six years I always enjoy visiting this seaside town especially during the summer.
The most recognised iconic building in Cobh is St Coleman’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is perched on one of the many hills in Cobh and overlooks the mouth of Cork harbour (one of the largest and safest harbours in the world), Spike Island and the home of the Irish Naval base.
One of the biggest attractions in Cobh are the Cruise Ships that dock in the deep water quay next to the Cobh Heritage Centre. This year Cobh is expecting over 60 Cruise liners. When the liners are docked, visitors from home and abroad enjoy exciting festivals with a selection of artisan food stalls.
The Titanic Experience was opened in Cobh to mark the Titanic’s centenary anniversary in February 2012. Visitors to the Museum are moved by the maritime story of the Titanic’s sinking and the stories associated with the Titanic’s last port of call to Cork Harbour.
Every time I go home I treat myself to a large frothy cappuccino in the Titanic Bar and Restaurant on the waterfront. It comes served with a chocolate sauce on top! One of my favourite Restaurants in Cobh is Gilberts Restaurant; it is always nice to go there for a family occasion. When catching up with friends, Kelly’s Bar on the main street is top of my list. It is a popular bar for all age groups and there is plenty of live music at weekends.
The best time of the year to visit Cobh is the middle of August when the annual Cobh People’s Regatta takes place. While the sailing boats race in the harbour, music fills the streets and there is plenty of street entertainment for all age groups to enjoy. The closing of the Regatta weekend features a spectacular fireworks display which can be seen from every corner of Cork harbour and is well worth seeing.
Fota Wildlife Park is a stone’s throw away from Cobh. Visitors to the park can also enjoy a visit to Fota Gardens and House for afternoon tea. If you are coming from Cork City, Fota is accessible by train and there are plenty of car spaces and picnic facilities.
For some down time and a treat, I like to book into the Fota Island Resort Spa. The Spa experience is good value for money. The hydrotherapy pool is very refreshing and the therapists are extremely friendly and professional. I would recommend the hot stone massage.
Midleton Farmer’s Market – opened every Saturday. (This was the first Farmers Market established in Ireland by Irish Celebrity Chef, Darina Allen).
Ballymaloe House and Cookery School, Cloyne, Co. Cork
Beautiful beaches; Garryvoe Beach, Cloyne.