Great Human Interest Stories To Learn At Cobh Heritage Center

Explore life on board a coffin ship and convict ship

From 1848 to 1950, over six million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – over 2.5 million of those departed from Cobh (then called Queenstown), making it the single most important port of emigration.

Learn about some of the emigrants who departed from Cobh, many in search of a new life in a land of opportunity, and many more who departed involuntarily as convicts to Australia or as forced labour to the colonies and the West Indies – known as The forgotten Irish.

Immerse yourself in our maritime, naval and military history

Cobh is one of the world’s finest natural harbours. The Queenstown Story relays stories about the maritime, naval and military history of the area, the fortification of the various forts in the harbour such as Hawlbowline, Spike Island (the Alcatraz of Ireland) and Fort Camden, and takes you on an emigration journey from the 1600’s right through to the 1950’s.

See the Aud Anchor from 1916

The anchor from the Aud gun running ship recently went on display at Cobh Heritage Centre as part of the 1916 commemorative events. The Aud was sent by Germany with 20,000 rifles and a million rounds of ammunition to assist the 1916 insurgents but was intercepted by the Royal Navy in Tralee Bay.

Its captain, Karl Spindler, decided to scuttle the ship in Cork Harbour while it was being escorted to Cobh, then Queenstown.

Learn the Story of Annie Moore

Learn all about Annie Moore, the first emigrant ever to be processed at Ellis Island on 1 January 1892. Located outside Cobh Heritage Centre is the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York, representing the honour of being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island and standing as a symbol of the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey.

Emigrant Stories

The Exhibition is full of interesting stories about various emigrants that left from Cove / Queenstown / Cobh over the centuries.

From local man Francis Barrett in 1624 , Anne Bonney the famous pirate, Robert Davies the smuggler, the Harp Donnelly’s – from Kerry to Rhode Island and not forgetting Mary Mullin and Denis Lennon , “the real Jack & Rose” .

These stories are inventively told and the characters almost come to life!

More info

  • These are self-guided tours but we have audio units available in French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew to help those whose English is not great.
  • 1 Hour is our recommended duration, but if you wish to stay longer, that is ok.

Entry times

  • We’re open daily from 9:30am. You may arrive at any time from then.
  • Mid October to Mid April – Last entry at 4pm
  • Mid April to Mid October – Last entry at 5pm
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