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Cobh is situated on the south coast of Ireland within Cork’s extensive natural harbour. This haven is located on the southern shoreline of Great Island, opposite Haulbowline Island. It offers a seasonal pontoon in the heart of Cobh town.

Being well within the 'Cove of Cork' the pontoon berth offers complete protection. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by Cork Harbour, one of the most easily approached, well-marked and safest natural harbours in the world.
Please note

Although the Lower Harbour is very well marked for night navigation, owing to Cobh’s lights and the vast amount of markers, first-time visitors should prefer a day entry as it may prove challenging at night.




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Keyfacts for Cobh
Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaLaundry facilities availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Approved port for vessels requiring clearance to lawfully enter the countryMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesNavigation lights to support a night approachUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
July 15th 2020

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaLaundry facilities availableShore based toilet facilitiesHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaRegional or international airport within 25 kilometresBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Approved port for vessels requiring clearance to lawfully enter the countryMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesNavigation lights to support a night approachUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 50.925' N, 008° 17.850' W

This is the position of the pontoon off The Quays.

What is the initial fix?

The following Cork Harbour initial will set up a final approach:
51° 46.580' N, 008° 15.460' W
This waypoint is a mile out from the entrance and near the Outflow Marker Fl(Y) 20s. It is set on the alignment of 354° (T) of the Dogsnose leading lights that are situated on the east side of Cork Harbour entrance. This waypoint sets up an east channel approach but a vessel may alter course to and enter via the west channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the southwest are available in southwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location. Use the directions provided for Cork City Marina Click to view haven for the entry and run up through Cork Harbour.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Cobh for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Spike Island - 0.4 miles SSE
  2. Cuskinny - 0.7 miles ENE
  3. Cork Harbour Marina - 0.8 miles W
  4. Glenbrook - 0.9 miles WNW
  5. Crosshaven - 1.6 miles S
  6. Drake’s Pool - 1.8 miles SSW
  7. White Bay - 1.9 miles SSE
  8. Aghada - 2 miles E
  9. East Ferry Marina - 2 miles ENE
  10. Northeast of Great Island - 2.5 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Spike Island - 0.4 miles SSE
  2. Cuskinny - 0.7 miles ENE
  3. Cork Harbour Marina - 0.8 miles W
  4. Glenbrook - 0.9 miles WNW
  5. Crosshaven - 1.6 miles S
  6. Drake’s Pool - 1.8 miles SSW
  7. White Bay - 1.9 miles SSE
  8. Aghada - 2 miles E
  9. East Ferry Marina - 2 miles ENE
  10. Northeast of Great Island - 2.5 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
Cobh
Image: John Finn


Cobh is a sizable town with a population of about 1300 that stands on the south side of Great Island in the middle of Cork Harbour. It is situated on a narrow rising hill that overlooks the harbour. With the town centre rising steeply to be crowned by the Cathedral of St. Colman, one of the tallest buildings in Ireland, it presents a dramatic appearance when approached from seaward. The town is home to the harbour’s Port Operations Centre and the port's harbour pilot launches are based at the Camber pier at the town’s eastern end. It is also home to Ireland's only dedicated cruise terminal and it overlooks Haulbowline Island the HQ of the Irish Naval Service on the opposite side of Cobh Road.


The Quays Bar & Restaurant pontoon
Image: Gary Bembridge via CC BY SA 2.0


A few small quays and boat harbours line the shore abreast the town but it has until recently surprisingly limited berthing options. There has been a recreational berthing pontoon owned by The Quays Bar & Restaurant External link that has a large outdoor seating area above. There is no fee for the berth, but users should reciprocate pontoon use by providing good custom to the 'The Quays' which is an ideal location to enjoy the scenery of Cobh Harbour. A vessel may overnight with permission of The Quays manager, Landline+353 (0) 21 4813539, E-mailadmin@thequays.ie, open daily during the season 12pm-11pm. But always remember a vessel berthed here is staying at their good graces.


Phase One of the Cove Sailing Club marina
Image: Cove Sailing Club


Fortunately, Cove Sailing Club has opened a new marina (opened July 2020) at Whitepoint to the west of Cobh town. This is the first 30-berth-phase of the two-phase build that will result in a 74-berth marina of which there will be a minimum of ten berths available to visitors. The marina can cater for vessels of up to 15 metres LOA and support depths of up to 11 metres. It is located in the area between the current cruise terminal and White Point. The Cove Sailing Club web site External link provides a separate rate card page External link with visitor instruction. The club may also be contacted by E-mailinfo@covesailingclub.ie.



For overnight berthing call the club mobile Mobile+353 (0) 87 117 8363 and you will be provided details on where to berth and access to and from the marina.

There is also one other possibility for those with a capable outboard and tender and that is to anchor Cuskinny, just over 1 mile east and out of the hustle and bustle, that would most likely present a more restful option for those a less interested in nightlife.


How to get in?
St Colman's Cathedral can be seen from the entrance to and throughout Cork Harbour
Image: Tourism Ireland


Convergance Point The run up the Lower Harbour to Cobh Road is best described in the Cork City Marina Click to view haven entry. St Colman's Cathedral standing on a high point overlooking the town makes the town conspicuous for many miles. The pontoon is in Cobh Road opposite Haulbowline Island.


Yachts alongside in the pontoon
Image: Adrian Hon via CC BY 2.0


The distinctive yellow Sirius Arts Centre will be seen and 'The Quays Bar & Restaurant' above the gangplank. The pier immediately east of this is only for tour boats to Spike Island. To the west is the deep-water liner pier and then the marina is in the area between the terminal and White Point.


Cove Sailing Club beyond the cruiser terminal
Image: Cove Sailing Club


Haven location Berth as arranged with the club or the restaurant. Berth numbers for Cove Sailing Club's pontoons are available on their detailed marina planExternal link.

Cove Sailing Club’s Marina Plan
Image: Cove Sailing Club



Why visit here?
Cobh has had many names down through the ages. The current Cobh, in Irish 'An Cóbh', has no Irish language meaning and is a gaelicisation of the English name of 'Cove'. This name was first recorded in 1750 for the area, and prior to that the settlement was known as 'Ballyvoloon' that overlooked 'The Cove', which became the ' The Cove of Cork', and then simply 'Cove'.


Early warship off Haulbowline Island
Image: Public Domain
In 1849 the area was renamed 'Queenstown' to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria in that year. This remained the town's name until 1922 when, with the foundation of the Irish Free State, it was renamed Cobh once again.

Cobh has an extraordinarily strong maritime heritage that touches all phases of Irish history. Most notably Haulbowline Island that it overlooks comes directly from 'a warship of the line's' command 'Haul bow lines' meaning 'prepare to go about' as it was a bustling base that was commanded by an Admiral of the fleet. The initial defensive works erected on Haulbowline Island were built in response to the crises of the Nine Years War at the same time as the pentagonal earthwork of James Fort that was built at Castle Park near Kinsale. It was the concentration of seamen around the fort and Cork Harbour that caused the world’s first yacht club to be founded on Haulbowline Island in 1720.


HMS Howe in Cove Road in the late-1890s
Image: National Library of Ireland on The Commons


The next impetus for a wave of development followed the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) when Cork Harbour was a key British port and it was developed to become a naval base for the Royal Navy. Previous to the American War, 'The Cove of Cork' was a small fishing village, but it subsequently increased rapidly. Haulbowline Island was expanded to become the country’s main naval base during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). Most of Cobh’s present-day buildings owe their heritage to this period and the vast majority of the town was developed in the 1800s making it the youngest town in East Cork.

Victorian Cove
Image: National Library of Ireland on The Commons



Although deeply connected to the navy Cobh soon also became a popular holiday resort. Its modern terraces rising one above another with wide streets and handsome houses and eminent position rising abruptly above Cork Harbour gave it a striking appearance. A contemporary observer noted that Cobh was popular among 'invalids and persons of fortune, who were attracted by the salubrity of its climate and the beauty of its situation in the finest harbour in Europe.' New impetus was given to this when in 1849 Queen Victoria made it her first landing-place in Ireland after which the town was renamed Queenstown.


RMS Lusitania in 1907
Image: Public Domain


The young Queen Victoria received an extraordinarily warm welcome despite Cobh been touched by the darkest side of a national occupation. It was a major embarkation port for men, women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. Ships logs in the Cobh Museum show the records of such deportations. Being a major transatlantic Irish port, Cobh was also one of the largest Famine emigration ports. Between the years 1844-50 2.5 million of the 6 million mostly hungry and penniless that left to build a new life in North America, departed from Cobh. Many thrived and prospered, but many died on the journey in the terrible travelling conditions of the time. Queen Victoria was none the less graciously welcomed during this apocalyptic period of Irish history.


Last pictures of the Titanic preparing to leave Cobh
Image: Public Domain


During World War I Cobh was a naval base for British and American destroyers operating against U-boats that preyed upon allied merchant vessels. The famous 'Q-ships' U-boat deterrent strategy was born in Cobh. These were common merchant ships that were heavily armed with concealed weaponry. The strategy was to lure submarines into making a surface attack on a seemingly defenceless vessel to enable an engagement when the U-boats were most vulnerable. Many of the 'Q-ships' were fitted out in Cobh, Queenstown as it was then called, and hence they adopted the title 'Queenstown-ships', shortened to 'Q-ships'. The first American servicemen to participate in First World War combat duty were the American destroyers that arrived in Cobh in May 1917. All combined to build Cobh’s significant contribution to stopping the U-boat blockade of Western Europe.


Haulbowline Island today
Image: Chris Murray via CC BY SA 2.0


Due to the successes with the U-boats, the United Kingdom retained three deepwater ports in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. These were Cork Harbour (Queenstown), Berehaven and Lough Swilly and all were retained by the United Kingdom on account of their tactical military importance. These remained UK sovereign bases, known as the Treaty Ports, after the formation of the Irish Free State to alleviate the concern of the British government that a U-boat like campaign around Irish coasts might recur. The forts were handed over to the Irish Defence Forces in 1938, and Cobh’s naval tradition remains to this day with Haulbowline Island being the HQ of the Irish Navy.



Irish Navy ship leaving Cobh today
Image: Gordon Kinsella via CC BY SA 2.0


The town also has strong historical links to two of the most infamous ship sinking’s of the Twentieth Century. On 11 April 1912 Cobh was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on the legendary ill-fated maiden voyage. Of the 123 passengers that boarded the Titanic in Cobh, only 44 survived the sinking. Likewise, the Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania, that was sunk by a German U-Boat off the Old Head Of Kinsale, has strong links to Cobh. 700 were rescued but 1198 passengers died in that sinking. The survivors and victims' alike were brought to Cobh and over one hundred were buried in the Old Church Cemetery just north of the town. A Lusitania Peace memorial in Casement Square, opposite the arched building housing the Cobh Library and Courthouse, commemorates the Lusitania victims.


Pretty Cobh as seen from a seaward approach
Image: John Glynn via CC BY SA 2.00


Today Cobh is a bustling seaside town that features some of Ireland’s most beautiful architecture. Picture perfect and bordered by steep hillsides with colourful buildings that cling to the water's edge, it is crowned by the magnificent St. Colman's Cathedral which is set on a high point in the town with its spire and its carillon of 47 bells towering over the surroundings, it is East Cork’s most impressive Cathedral. With views from the ramparts of Cork Harbour, it is the town’s dominant landmark and one of the tallest buildings in Ireland.


Colourful terraces of Cobh
Image: CC0


Cobh’s attractive combination of history and architecture provides an ambience of a bygone Victorian era that can be best experienced around the colourful buildings at the promenade park. This special character and history attract up to 50 Cruise Liners each summer to a dedicated area immediately west of the pontoon.


Cobh Quay
Image: MarianOne via CC BY SA 2.0


Of particular boating interest, the pontoon is located next to the Sirius Arts Centre that was once the clubhouse of the historic 'Royal Cork Yacht Club'. The first club was first established on Haulbowline Island in 1720 as the 'Cork Harbour Water Club'. In 1806 another club that had formed nearby in Cobh took on the name of the Cork Harbour Yacht Club and they merged. This name was later shortened to the Cork Yacht Club until, in 1831, King William IV bequeathed it the 'Royal' prefix.


The Sirius Arts Centre was the clubhouse of the historic 'Royal Cork Yacht Club'
Image: © Aidan Fleming


The club prospered thereafter and in 1854 this prestigious new Italianate style clubhouse was built for it on Cobh's quayside. From then on, their annual regatta became one of the sporting highlights of the region. In 1966 the RCYC merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club and made the Royal Munster's Crosshaven clubhouse its new headquarters. Today the building houses many interesting exhibitions and hosts lie music events.


Victorian Bandstand overlooking the quay
Image: MarianOne via CC BY SA 2.0


The history of the ill-fated Trans-Atlantic liners, plus the mass emigration of the famine, are told in 'The Queenstown Story' at the Cork Heritage Centre. This is situated in disused parts of the old Victorian railway station. Overlooking the Heritage Centre on the Upper Road above, and just a short walk away is The Cobh Museum which is located in a former Presbyterian Church and is well worth a visit. Music lovers may be lucky enough to hear some beautiful music drifting down to the pontoon on a sunny Sunday afternoon from the Victorian bandstand at The Prom, just above the berth in Kennedy Park. The town also holds several festivals such as the 'Festival on the Hill' in July, Cobh People's Regatta in August, and Colman's Cathedral hosts Carillon Concerts.


Members of Cove Sailing Club on the pontoon
Image: Cove Sailing Club


From a boating perspective, Cobh is entirely set up for tourism. This commences in a conveniently located tourist office in the Sirius Arts Centre, open seven days a week, will be the essential first step to plan a visit to this heritage town. Cobh is also a designated as a port of entry that may be used for clearing in purposed by vessels arriving entering territorial waters of the Republic of Ireland from outside of the EU & UK territories.


What facilities are available?
Cork Harbour is a major yachting centre for Ireland and as such, you can get everything you need, if not in Cobh, certainly in the harbour area. The main concentration of yachting services is however in the Crosshaven area, and 'The Quays Bar & Restaurant' jetty is only suitable as an access point to Cobh town centre. Cobh, catering for a population of about 10,000, has almost all you need outside of boating. It has a host of excellent eateries and bustling pubs that will be sure to keep all visitors entertained. Kelly's Bar is a local favourite with live music most weekends as well as visitor attractions such as the Titanic experience and Cobh Heritage centre.

Cove Sailings Club's marina has a small clubhouse located across from the marina entrance. Facilities here include toilets and showers and also laundry facilities available for marina guests. It is located a 5 min walk from the nearest restaurants, both the Quays Bar and Restaurant and the Watersedge Hotel following a short walk along the five foot way into Cobh.

One of Cobh’s particular strengths is transport. It benefits from an hourly direct rail link to Kent Station in Cork City, located on the Lower Glanmire Road, north of the River Lee. Less than 10 minutes’ walk from it is the Cork city bus station. The marina is ideally located just 250 metres from the Cobh train station that connects to Cork with a 25 min travel time, the train also serves Fota Wildlife park and gardens one of Ireland's leading visitor attractions which is just 10 mins by train. It also has excellent hire car facilities and a host of taxi firms as a result of the many Liners that visit here. The island and the town are linked to the mainland by the R624, which runs southwards from the N25.

All this makes Ireland’s second-largest city Cork, 25 km (15 mi) from Cobh, highly accessible with its onward excellent transport connections. Bus Eireann provides a regular national service including an Air Coach bus service from Cork's Parnell Place Bus Station to Cork Airport throughout the week. Cork Airport is conveniently located just 8 kilometres from Cork City Centre.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel moored alongside The Quays. However this is an open quay and normal security measures should be adhered to.


With thanks to:
Eddie English, Yachtmaster Instructor/Examiner Dinghy & Powerboat Trainer at sailcork.com.

























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