Cobh (pronounced 'cove') is a charming hill town on a glistening estuary, speckled with brightly coloured houses and overlooked by a splendid cathedral. It's popular with Corkonians looking for a spot of R&R, and with cruise liners (around 60 visit the port each year) as the second-largest natural harbour in the world (after Sydney Harbour in Australia).
It's a far cry from the harrowing Famine years when 2.5 million people left Ireland through the estuary in order to escape the ravages of starvation. Cobh was also the final port of call for the Titanic; a poignant museum opened in 2012 to commemorate the voyage's centenary.
Cobh is on the south side of Great Island, one of three islands that fill Cork Harbour. The other two (visible from the waterfront) are Haulbowline Island, once the base of the Irish Naval Service, and the greener, former prison Spike Island, which is now owned by Cork City Council and can be toured.