Cobh, Ireland – 08:00 to 18:00
A rather chilly, completely overcast and very wet day in Cobh, but nothing could dampen a spectacular day. In recognition that 99% of the passengers are Aussie or Kiwis, the locals created the annual Aussie Day, with the entire town adorned with Australian and New Zealand flags. We visited Cobh last year on Emerald Princess and it was just your average port of call, but not today. Today was something special.
Temperature: High 16C/61F, Low 12C/54F – long way from the recent 40C in Rome
Wind/Weather: Overcast and heavy rain coming down sideways
Clox: Z+1 (no change)
Throughout the early morning Sea Princess maintained a NW’ly course at a sedate 11 kts towards the pilot station. The pilot boarded about 06:30 and shortly thereafter Sea Princess passed Roches Point Lighthouse to stbd, entering the narrow buoyed channel. Abeam Fort Camden to port, Sea Princess entered Cobh Bay, navigating around Spike Island towards Cobh, which is located at the far end of the bay. Arriving off the berth shortly after 07:30, the Captain turned Sea Princess through 180 degrees, docking port side alongside by 08:00.
At 18:00, with the lines gone and amidst great fanfare ashore, the Captain thrust Sea Princess off the berth and commenced the voyage towards our next port of call in Dublin. When clear of the buoyed channel, the pilot disembarked and Sea Princess set generally E’ly courses along the Irish Coast at a speed of about 11 kts.
Known as Queenstown from 1850 until the late 1920’s, Cobh is located on the South Coast of Ireland in County Cork. Local tourism is based on Cobh’s heritage as an emigrating port and the final port of RMS Titanic, prior to her ill-fated trans-Atlantic crossing. Current cruise ships call at the port for tours to Blarney Castle and Waterford Crystal.
On heading out to the balcony, early this morning, we were highly disappointed to note the overcast skies and liquid sunshine had followed us in from Southampton. We watched the pilot boat arrive, but he boarded on the other side, and the beginning of the transit into Cobh Harbour. Having been here last year aboard Emerald Princess, on a fine, sunny day, I’m going to cheat and use some of last year’s photos. No way, I’m going out to get wet when I already have the photos. Yep, I’m the intrepid fair weather Lord Lichfield.
Shortly after the pilot boarded, this is the approach to the narrow entrance channel, with Roches Point Lighthouse to St’b’d.
Abeam the lighthouse with the ship in the buoyed channel. The tell tale marker on the buoys indicate an ebb tide. Spike Island is right ahead with Cobh located behind the island.
Fort Camden which is at the end of the narrow entrance channel and protects the entrance to Cobh Bay.
Navigating around Spike Island with the small town of Cobh ahead.
Approaching the Eastern suburbs of Cobh, which is really only a short walk to downtown.
Downtown Cobh and the Cathedral
The cruise terminal is rather low budget, but it is well located. The train to Cork is immediately behind and downtown Cobh is a very short walk.
After breakfast, where the porridge was hot, but Judi’s pancakes were cold, we arrived back in the cabin just as we approached the berth. Our initial view was of the naval base on Spike Island, but then we turned 180 degrees and berthed port side alongside, providing an excellent view from our balcony. We had planned on joining the 11:00 guided walking tour of Cobh, but with the heavy rain coming down sideways, we were having 2nd thoughts. About 10:00 the precipitation eased off to a light drizzle, or Scotch mist, so we packed up and headed for town.
The entire town was adorned with Aussie and Kiwi Flags and posters outlined the festivities planned for their special Aussie Day. Shortly after reaching downtown, about 5 minute walk, the heavens opened again, so we found a cafe, thinking at 10:15 it was a tad early to hit the Guinness. Cuppacity is located on the main downtown square and they had a Wi-Fi poster in the window. Perfect, steaming hot tea and free Wi-Fi. They made a perfect pot of tea and the scones looked divine, so we tried 1 each. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi bandwidth was virtually non-existent, as I couldn’t even send or receive emails. The locals were brilliant and we chatted with a couple extensively in the coffee shop. Not paying any attention to the watch we were so engrossed in the conversation we missed 11:00, so I missed the walking tour.
Well what better way to drown the sorrows of missing the tour than heading to a traditional pub for the first pint of Guinness. Our first stop was in Kelly’s Bar, which has the old wooden bar, adorned with beer taps, immediately as you enter the front door. We found a table in the back, so I enjoyed a Guinness and Judi just a coke, since she doesn’t partake in hopped beverages. Got chatting to mostly other passengers from the ship and after an hour, since they didn’t serve food we headed across the road to the Titanic Inn for lunch.
Actually rather disappointing, being a newer establishment, definitely not your traditional Irish Pub. Although it has an excellent waterfront patio, we elected to sit inside due to the rain. I had the Murphy’s Stout, more local and less well known than Guinness and a little less bitter than the more popular alternative. The food was yet again disappointing, with the fish and chips very greasy and the fish and batter almost bitter.
With Judi’s back acting up we headed back to the ship, stopping at the Heritage Centre for Judi’s shopping fix.
Judi by the Titanic poster in the Heritage Centre.
The Patter included a performance from a local Irish singer, so without any other information, we assumed it would be Irish Folk music, similar to all the pubs and the bandstand in town. We headed down to the Atrium, grabbed a couple of chairs and read our Kindles until the performance started. Wow, were we ever wrong. She was an opera singer and kicked off singing in Italian. We survived a couple of songs then beat a hasty retreat back to the cabin.
From the balcony we noted the local band setting up and the locals arriving dockside in huge numbers. This looks like developing into the old departures I recall from working on the ships, with bands, singing, streamers, balloon, etc.
Local band playing on the dock and the Red-Hat Ladies waking Aussie flags. As departure approached the locals kept arriving, with their kids and pets in tow. It really was a party atmosphere.
Wide angle view from our balcony, with hundreds on the dock and many more lining the streets above. When the Bridge sounded the whistle we got a huge cheer in response from the shore with lots of Irish, Aussie and Kiwi flags waving.
Sea Princess commencing her departure from Cobh.
Downtown Cobh on departure.
Thank you to all the residents of Cobh for extending a traditional Irish welcome and brightening up a soggy and overcast day. A truly spectacular day.
Just before departure we got a call from Bruce, updating us on the situation for dinner tonight. The new ladies have sampled too much liquid ashore and are headed to bed, Bob & Christine returned on a late tour and are also having an early night, so Bruce & Viv are heading to the show, then the Horizon Court. We planned to meet them at the pre-dinner show, but Judi & I have been in Horizon Court too often lately and planned on the dining room.
We met Bruce and Viv in Vista, and shortly after the show started, the Bridge cut in advising of a serious water leak and the need to cut power in zone 7. This refers to the vertical fire zone # 7, which is all cabins that start with 7 and the aft lounges, which is where Vista is located. Sure enough, about 2 minutes later, boom – all power is cut and the emergency lights came on immediately. The 2 performers took it in their stride, putting down their eclectic instruments and continuing with the show, until the new Deputy Cruise Director arrived and shut it down. Apparently she discovered the flood, which was in crew cabins immediately below the Vista Lounge. This wasn’t a few drips, but a full flood. Therefore, the engine room shut down fresh water to the entire ship and power to every deck in fire zone 7. The Captain quickly updated us advising of a major flood and they will do their best to restore services as quick as possible. Meanwhile, the loud people behind us were going on that all Deck 7 had no power and why don’t they open the curtains. I didn’t get into the difference between deck 7 and Zone 7, but did explain the curtains were electric. When the Cruise Director arrived, he cancelled the show and planned to cancel the film and rerun the show at 21:45.
At dinner, it was only Judi and I, so with only main course tonight we were in and out quickly. Judi wasn’t in the pink of condition, so we headed back to the cabin until I went down for the re-scheduled show. Billed as, Duo Yalba, multi-instrumentalists that master over 40 instruments and most musical styles. They are a couple of chaps from Mexico and they play a variety of percussion, wind and stringed instruments, including the bagpipes, which brought a wee tear to my eye.
Duo Yalba performing in the Vista Lounge.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.