Cork, Ireland

Today, we arrived in Ringaskiddy Port or Cork Port as it is sometimes called. Cork City is a few kilometers away and Cobh, the charming little town in the first photo is on an island across the Lee river from the port. All of the signs are written in both Irish and English and you move from one named area to another without realizing it, so it was sometimes hard to know where you were. This was the last port-of-call for the Titanic on April 11, 1912. The second photo shows a Titanic memorial in Cobh where 123 passengers bought their tickets and took tender boats out to the ship. We were led on our town tour by Dr. Michael Martin, a Titanic expert who told us a number of disturbing facts about how differently the first and third class passengers were treated.

The third photo shows a memorial to the fishermen of Cork who worked tirelessly to save 762 passengers on the Lusitania when it was sunk in 18 minutes by a German submarine. That event happened just a few nautical miles from Cork. Just over 1100 lives were lost. It struck me this afternoon that this might not be the best place to visit just before heading across the Atlantic!

We visited the Cobh Heritage Center after the town tour where numerous exhibitions told the stories of the nearly 3 million emigrants who passed through this port on their way to hopefully a better life in America and Australia. This began in the 1620’s and may very well have included some of my ancestors. This center also exhibited a number of stories about the Titanic and the Lusitania. One exhibit showed a bottle that a man from near Cobh threw from the Titanic with a goodbye note inside. It washed up a year later a few miles from his home. One more port and then I complete my circle.

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