The sinking of the Titanic happened 108 years ago today, in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. While you may be familiar with the ship’s first port of call in Southampton or its destination of New York City, a little known fact is that the Titanic’s last port of call in Europe, before it set out to its watery grave, was in Ireland. While we were in Ireland this past summer, we visited the Titanic Experience in Cobh, one of several museums focused on the tragedy worldwide.
Cobh (pronounced “cove”) is a charming seaside town, with a storied maritime history as one of the world’s largest natural harbors.
Check out this beautiful video for scenes from Cobh, from the Titanic’s launch until now. Formerly called Queenstown, this quaint village has one of the most spectacular vistas that I have ever seen!
Cobh (Queenstown) was the point of departure for many of the ships carrying Irish emigrants from the 19th century, including the first emigrant to be processed on Ellis Island, Annie Moore. Cobh was also where survivors from the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania were brought, as it was the nearest town to the attack. Cobh contains several historical statues dedicated to its maritime history, including a memorial to victims of both the Lusitania and the Titanic.
The Titanic Experience is a great place to take your kids who are interested in learning more about the tragedy. It is housed in the the original White Star Line Building.
123 of the Titanic’s 2,224 passengers got on the ship in Cobh, and after you purchase your tickets, you will be given a card with one of these 123 passengers’ names on it.
As you make your way through the museum, you will learn more about these passengers and check the list of survivors in the last room to see if your person survived. My assigned person, Julia Barry, did not but my son’s person, Bernard McCoy, did. It makes the terrible calamity real to kids!
As you make your way through the guided tour, you will see the different cabins, from the luxurious 1st class cabins to the basic 3rd class cabins.
My son was enthralled with the stories and loved the experience. There was even a virtual interview with some of the passengers and crew through holograms. Very cool for kids!
My favorite place was on the back balcony of the museum, where you were standing in the very spot as one of the pictures of the Titanic passengers. I really felt as if I was standing in history!
At the end of the tour, there are several rooms of artifacts to explore and the list of the survivors. At the gift shop, your kids can purchase a bookmark with their assigned passenger’s information on it. My son loves to use it and remember the interesting stories that we learned here!
While you cannot currently travel to Cobh due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still ways to experience the history of the Titanic disaster with your children at home:
- Titanic Belfast (where the massive ship was built) educational resources and stay at home guide
- SeaCity Museum in Southampton’s online resources, including a guided tour with lots of great stories
- The Titanic Museums’ (located in Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO) virtual tour – includes a recreation of the grand staircase! – and an education guide
- Library of Virginia’s online exhibit on the Titanic newspaper coverage, including pictures and editorial cartoons
- Podcast and teacher resources from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
- Many Titanic movies – of course there is Titanic (which isn’t suitable for kids) but there is also a Disney documentary called, Ghosts of the Abyss, that looks really good
As we are all schooling at home due to the current pandemic, this is a good opportunity to learn about something, like the Titanic disaster, that might not be covered in school. Your kids will enjoy learning more about this amazing ship and its terrible fate. And once travel has resumed, definitely put Cobh on your must see list!
- Cost: 10EUR/adult; 7EUR/ages 4-16
- Recommended: all ages
- Tour time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
- Gift shop located onsite
- Transportation: The Titanic Experience is located in Cobh, a 30 minute drive from Cork
- Dining options nearby: The Titanic Bar and Grill is located in the basement of the museum and has an amazing view of the cove
- Nearby hotels: We didn’t stay in Cobh but Rick Steves’ recommends several hotels, including the Commodore Hotel. We stayed at Castlemartyr, about a 30 minute drive from Cobh
- Nearby attractions include: The Titanic Trail, Cobh Heritage Centre, St. Colman’s Cathedral, Spike Island (Ireland’s Alcatraz!), and Kinsale
Books to Read:
See my book list on Bookshop.org, an Amazon alternative. This link, along with others below, are affiliate links where I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
- 14 and up:
- 10 and up:
- 6 and up:
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