The June bank holiday seemed a great opportunity to explore a little bit of Ireland. Initially, I thought about going to Galway to start test shooting for my project on “Colonial Ireland”. However, my plans changed and I ended up going to Cork. It was a great opportunity to revisit the city and explore a few new places in the area.
The first destination was Cobh (formerly Queenstown). Although it is a beautifully located coastal town with a Victorian seafront, it is really famous for some rather dark reasons. First, almost half the Irish emigrants who left the island between 1848 and 1950 left from the port of Cobh. Secondly, Cobh was the last stop for the Titanic before its unfinished Atlantic voyage in 1912. Finally, in 1915 the British passenger liner Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat just off the coast of Cobh.
The Titanic museum in Cobh is much smaller than the one in Belfast but it is still well worth visiting. It displays replicas of the liner’s cabins and provides information about the ship and its tragic journey. Visitors are able to see the boarding station and the remains of the pier from which the passengers boarded. Visitors are given entry tickets that are copies of the tickets that the passengers who boarded the Titanic in Queenstown received for their voyage. For the duration of the visit I became 18 year old Nora Hegarty. At the end of the exhibition visitors can learn what happened to their assigned passengers i.e. if they died in the disaster or if they were rescued and what happened to them later. It turned out that I did not survive.
Later I went to the exhibition housed in an old Victorian railway station called “The Queenstown Story”. The exhibition presents the town’s maritime history, in particular the part it played in Irish emigration and in the transportation of convicts. Quite a big part of it is dedicated to the Titanic and Lusitania disasters. There I learned more about the passenger whose ticket I had been given in the previous museum. She came from Whitechurch Co. Cork and had intended to join a convent in Boston upon her arrival in the United States. Her cousin Jeremiah Burke joined her on the voyage.  Both died in the Titanic disaster.
I spent another two days visiting Fota House and Gardens and Fota Wildlife Park. Fota House is an old hunting lodge converted into a mansion and surrounded by gardens and a 19th century arboretum with trees from all over the world. It is a great place to walk around on a nice, sunny day. Visiting the house, on the other hand, is a nice trip back in time.
The Lusitania monument.
Victorian seafront in Cobh.
The pier from which passengers boarded the Titanic.
Annie Moore – the first immigrant to the United States who passed through Ellis Island.
Jeremiah Burke stands in the back row, extreme left, with his cousin Nora Hegarty in front of him.
Fota House
Fota Garden
Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park

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