Cobh in Cork, formally named Queenstown between 1849 to 1922. A major transatlantic Irish shipping port, Cobh was the last departure point for approximately 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950.
The Famine And Irish Emigration
In those early years of emigration many passengers fleed the famine that was to claim a million victims in a few years. For those who set sail on the famine ships from Queenstown the future was uncertain. Sadly not every passenger surrived the long journey, never reaching their destination in North America. For those who did land many would never see Ireland again, and in a foreign land they carved out a place for themselves and made a new home. The contribution of the Irish in North America went beyond the building of roads, rail track. Within a few generations Irish families made a major inpact on the social and political development of country, even reaching the highest office of the land.
Queenstown And The Titanic
On 11 April 1912 Queenstown was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
Local lore has it that a Titanic crew member John Coffey, a native of Queenstown, jumped ship although there is no record of him on the crew list. 123 passengers boarded in all; only 44 survived the sinking.
Cobh To Australia
Cobh was also a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The records of such deportations can be found in the ship log books in the Cobh Museum, which since 1973 is housed in Scots church (Presbyterian church until 1969 closure) overlooking the harbour.