One of the best day trips I took while in Ireland was my trip out to Cobh.
I had met some fellow Americans while I was out on the town. We had a great time relating about our experiences in Ireland and they told me they were going to Cobh the following day. They invited me to tag along with them in the morning and I did just that.
I met them at the train station the following morning and we purchased our tickets. I sat looking out the window as the train ran along the glassy water. I remember one point of the ride where the tracks jetted straight across the marsh, surrounding the train with water on both sides and making it seem like we were floating.
We arrived in Cobh and found our way to the “Titanic Experience”. You see, Cobh was the last place the Titanic stopped before it crashed and sank, so there’s a cool tourist destination in the town. It’s actually really fun. Basically, it is an interactive museum that takes you through the experience of being a passenger on the Titanic from start to finish. At the beginning you get a ticket with the identity of an actual passenger from Titanic. It tells you who the person was, where he/she was from, where he/she was going, and pretty much all other information that was known about the person.
Towards the beginning of the museum tour you learn about things like the various types of sleeping situations that different classes of passengers had, and towards the end you are given facts about the fateful night of the sinking, including lessons with more scientific perspectives like the steps of succumbing to hypothermia. The coolest part is at the end of the “Titanic Experience”, where you look up the identity of the person on your ticket to see if he or she lived or died. This really does a good job personalizing those who were on board and making them relatable. Also, finding out who in your group of friends lived versus who in the group died provided a sort of friendly competition.
After the “Titanic Experience” we ventured up towards St. Colman’s Cathedral. As we walked higher and higher up the hill towards the cathedral, I soon came to realize that even though I had never been to this place, I recognized it. Sure enough, I later noticed that this was the cathedral on the front of my Ireland – Lonely Planet travel book. Standing prominently at the top of the hill and overlooking the harbor, this magnificent edifice was one of the best of its kind that I saw throughout Europe. I was astonished that this majestic and intricate castle was in such a humble location, but I wasn’t complaining. Truth be told, Cobh’s sublime landscape was enough of a heavenly reference to warrant such grandeur.
We made our way back down the hill and sat at a waterside restaurant for lunch. We all ordered fish and chips, as we decided it was customary for this Irish port town. I was happy to be spending the day with new friends who I went on to hang out with for the remainder of my time in Cork. If you’re thinking about studying abroad at UCC, definitely make sure to visit Cobh with a couple pals or loved ones. Maybe you’ll have one of the best days of your life as well!