Maritime Memorials of Cóbh
Photographs © John Luxton 1998, 1999 and 2000
Cóbh, County Cork, is steeped in Maritime History. Located at the mouth of the River Lee a few miles from Cork City, the port has been witness to many historic maritime events. The ill fated liners LUSITANIA and TITANIC are some of the major vessels associated with the port as were the notorious convict ships which conveyed many thousands to the penal colonies of Australia.
However, Cóbh will be forever remembered for the 2.5 million emigrants who left Ireland many departing via the now restored Sea Terminal, constructed in the 1860s, which has been splendidly restored as the The Queenstown Story Heritage Centre.
From the terminal, tenders would ferry passengers and mails to and from the great ocean liners. The Titanic and Lusitania are both associated with Cóbh. A naval base established on Haulbowline Island, by the British, is now the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service.
Annie Moore Memorial
Outside the Cóbh Heritage Centre is the exceptionally lifelike statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers.
One can see the excitement in the eldest boy's expression, the sadness in his sister's gaze. The Heritage Centre traces the development of Cóbh as a port, in particular the part played during the Great Famine and years of emigration as well as the development of the liner trade. The centre has its own web site at: www.Cóbhheritage.com
Annie Moore became the first ever emigrant to be processed in Ellis Island when it officially opened on January 1, 1892. Annie and her brothers sailed from Queenstown [Cóbh] on the SS Nevada on December 20. They arrived after 12 days of travelling in steerage.
The statue outside Cóbh Heritage Centre was unveiled by President Mary Robinson on the 9th February 1993. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York which represents not only the honour of her being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island but also stands as a symbol of the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey.
Cóbh Harbour Disaster Memorial
This minature replica of the Spit Bank Lighthouse commemorates the loss of John Higgins, Frank Lloyd, Frank Powell, Patrick Wilshaw and William Duggan, members of the Maritime Service and all of Cóbh. The men drowned during a storm in Cóbh harbour on 12th December 1942 whilst assisting in efforts to move the s.s. IRISH POPLAR into Rushbrooke Dry Dock. During the storm both the harbour control launch and the pilot launch were lost.
Seafarers and Rescuers Memorial
Opposite the Cóbh Harbour Disaster Memorial is an anchor and plaque. Its inscription reads. "We commemorate all Irish Seafarers who have served this Island Nation particularly those who perished at sea. We express our gratitude to the life saving services, Merchant Marine, Naval Service, R.N.L.I., British and Irish Helicopter crews for their heroic deeds saving lives off our coasts. - To give and not to count the cost.
The most impressive of the memorials to the Lusitania in Cóbh stands in Casement Square, below the beautiful St. Colman's Cathedral.
The memorial is dedicated to the victims and rescuers of the Cunard Liner RMS LUSITANIA.
This trans-Atlantic liner was torpedoed on 7th May 1915 by the German U-boat U20 off the Old Head of Kinsale whilst on a journey from New York to Liverpool. Many of the victims of the sinking were brought ashore at Cóbh, with bodies interred in the Old Church Graveyard.
At the Old Church Graveyard, about half a mile outside Cóbh the Lusitania mass grave is marked by three boulders bearing a brass plaque with the inscription Lusitania 7 May 1915.
Behind these is a memorial to the members of the crew who perished and who are buried nearby.
Commemorating RMS Titanic and her last port of call on her maiden and final voyage, April 11, 1912. In special memory of the Irish Emigrants and all those who lost their lives in this great tragedy.
Memorial Erected by: The Titanic Historical Society, The Irish Titanic Historical Society and the People of Cóbh