Monday, July 24, 2006

Cobh (Cove)

This morning I caught the train out to Cobh. This is the port near Cork that many Irish left from, and I suspect my grandmother Margaret Malone, and her sister Bridget, may well have left from here about 1890.

It was an overcast day and a fitting day to remember the many sad farewells that happened here. My grandmother left Ireland and never stood on Irish soil again. Families in many cases were farewelled forever.

Cobh also has sad memories for locals because the Lusitania was torpedoed near here in 1915 with the loss of over a thousand lives. Survivors were brought to Cork, and quite a few dead were buried here, many not identified. A monument remembers the dead and those who cared for the survivors and buried some of the dead. Some people embarked on the Titanic from here also before its fateful voyage. Less well known are the many who were lost trying to escape the famine on ships that were not seaworthy and never made it. The heritage centre at Cobh told all these stories and more and was very informative.

The train trip out first passed by industrial Cork but was soon passing an estuary where the tide was out. Lots of seabirds were wading in the mud and I saw some curlews with their crooked bills.

Cobh itself these days is a pretty town with nicely painted buildings. In many ways I was glad it was overcast and the sea looked grey instead of blue, as it said more about the departures that occurred here.

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