The Irish in America

DAY 28: Cobh

3 Comments

054_Cobh

I love Cobh. I wrote about the harbor town  in County Cork here. Cobh was the last of Ireland seen by millions of Irish leaving home for new lives in North America. For this reason, it was called the saddest town in Ireland.

068_CobhHeritageCentreToday Cobh’s streets are lined with brightly painted buildings and luxury cruise ships dock in the harbor. Housed in the Victorian train depot is the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells the story of the harbor and the people who left Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

As a visitor from America, the exhibit is a powerful reminder of the hardships endured by my ancestors, especially those who left Ireland in the years surrounding the Great Famine. I suspect it is as moving for Irish visitors, as they consider their country’s history, as well as their own personal connections to those who left.

For many Irish Americans, there is no old homestead to return to in Ireland, no family to invite them “home” for a gathering. Too many years have passed, and those who emigrated were forgotten generations ago. But this doesn’t stop us from visiting Ireland and searching for our Irish roots. In keeping the emigrant story alive, Cobh celebrates the connection between Ireland and America.

Cobh will always be there to welcome us back, and that is why it is a special place for me.

Photos by Regan McCormack

Photos by Regan McCormack

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Author: Aine

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My heritage pretty much covers the map of Ireland: great-great-grandparents from Cork (Crowley, Foley, Regan), a great-great-grandmother from Clare (Quinn), a great-great-grandfather from Fermanagh (McMahon) and his wife's parents from Mayo (McAndrew), a great-grandmother from Connemara (Hannon) married to my great-grandfather from Laois (McCormack), great-grandparents from Sligo (Flannery), and a great-grandmother from Kildare (Hill). All of those people ended up in Minnesota, where my four grandparents were born. Three and four generations after my people left Ireland for America, I retain all Irish heritage. So much for the melting pot...

3 thoughts on “DAY 28: Cobh

  1. Beautiful photos. And what a melancholy idea — “no old homestead to return to.”

  2. Ah Cobh! – it’s a place that I love – a beautiful town clinging to a cliff with that magnificent church spire rising above it all! My uncle emigrated from here in 1948 – he told me that as his ship left Cork Harbour, he will never forget the sight looking back at Cobh, his last view of Ireland for almost 30 years. He was so moved by this that he was never able to go back there on his many return visits to Ireland. Many of course left with great hope for bright new futures and we must remember that while many were desperately sad to leave, many others were looking forward to a better life – and very many found that .

    • Thanks, Angela. You said it perfectly! Isn’t it amazing to walk around the town and think about all of the people who walked those same streets before leaving home forever. It is such a special place.

      *Aine McCormack*

      *aine@archival-solutions.com*

      *Twitter: @irish_america*

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      *www.TheIrish In America.com *

      ThelrishlnAmerica @ gmail.com @FamilyToursIRL on Twitter + 1-651-222-4402

      304 Dacotah Building 370 Selby Avenue Saint Paul MN 55102 USA

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