Queen Anne Day 34

Written by Safarigal
June 6, 2024

Cobh, Ireland

June 5th, 2024

The last time we were in Cobh we had spent the day walking around Cobh. Today I decided to spend the day in Cork.

It is easy to get to Cork by train, but due to my paranoia about rail strikes, I took the ship’s tour of Cork on your own instead. As it turned out, there was no rail strike of course, but the coach ride was very pleasant and the guide was very informative, so I think it was worth the extra cost.

Like many other towns I have visited Cork used to be known as the Venice of the North. It still has branches of the river Lee running through it, crossed by 29 bridges, many of which I crossed as I walked all over the city centre.

However, many of the channels have now been drained, and are roadways instead of waterways. You can see their aquatic roots

The stairs leading up to the front entrances of some buildings date back to the days when these buildings were on the water, and like in Venice, you accessed them by alighting from your boat and climbing up the steps to the front door.

One of my reasons for my trip to Cork was to visit the St Finn Barre’s Cathedral. Some time ago I had read that they were upgrading the organ for 1.2 million Euros. If the upgrade cost that much, I just had to see the organ.

I had also read about its magnificent stained glass windows, and beautiful red marble font. Unlike the monochromatic interior of many cathedrals, St Finn Barre’s was said to be wonderfully colorful.

I walked along the river to the cathedral and although I thought the entrance fee of 8 Euros was a bit steep, I was happy to pay it. Well, their credit card machine had broken down a while ago, so they were only accepting cash. I didn’t have any Euros with me so that wasn’t going to work. As I really thought it was their problem that they had failed to get their credit card machine fixed, I asked if I could just take a look at the rose window and the organ, and then I would leave.

They were adamant that if I didn’t pay, then I couldn’t even take a peek. I didn’t think that was very nice of them at all. So I left feeling a bit let down.

Still the exterior is magnificent.

Although the graveyard did look a bit neglected.

I walked right past the Holy Trinity church.

Only on my way back to Cobh did I find out that there were relics of St Anthony of Padua in the church. Now that is worth a visit, and I bet that if their credit card machine wasn’t working they would let me take a peek. Next time.

The other place I had planned to visit was the English Market. The Market was created in 1788 by the Protestant or “English” corporation that controlled the city at that time. It was a new flagship municipal market located at the heart of the new commercial city center. According to Rick Stein “this is the best covered market in the UK and Ireland”.

The market didn’t disappoint.

I soon found bread, cheese, pate and olives. The lunch of champions.

There were strawberries too

And soon I found the perfect place to sit by the river and enjoy my picnic.

Conveniently nearby there was a chocolate supply.

My displeasure with the people at the Cathedral had dissipated. Cork is a real winner.

After my lunch I continued to walk around the city center. In the past few years the high streets of British cities have been very disappointing. Gone are the boutiques and green grocers, they have been replaced by charity shops, nail salons, and closed up store fronts. Even one of my favorite cities, Canterbury, looks nothing like it did when I was in high school and we would sneak onto the train to hang out there on Saturdays. Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow has lost a lot of its former sparkle. However, St Patrick’s street is booming, and lined by a great selection of shops, including a wonderful handicraft shop where I struggled to resist buying a beautiful cardigan.

There is a statue of Father Matthew near the river on St Patrick’s Street. Theobald Mathew was a Capuchin monk whose life’s work was helping the destitute of Cork, chiefly during the Cholera outbreak 1832, and the Great Famine 1845. According to our guide, despite his work with Temperance campaigns, he is still revered by the people of Cork.

There are many beautiful buildings

And I loved the bright flower stands dotted around the city.

I walked past the Imperial Hotel, which is where Charles Dickens always stayed when he was in Cork. Interestingly enough Bruce Springsteen and the band also stayed there a few days ago when they were performing in Cork.

Back on the ship I chatted with fellow passengers about their day in Cobh. Everyone had loved it. Cobh had gone all out to celebrate Queen Anne’s maiden call, and the town had a very festive feeling, with bands playing and people dressed up in historical costumes. A good time was had by all.

I went on deck to watch our sail away. Our final sail away. How has this happened so soon? It seems like just a few days ago that we were driving to Southampton, anxious that we had missed check in. Now I am waving goodbye to the crowd and the band on the quayside.

I heard the wonderful blasts from our whistle for the last time as we once more headed out to sea, this time towards our final destination, Southampton.

We had dinner at Aji Wa tonight. It was as wonderful as ever. It is my favorite specialty restaurant. The food and the service are first class. I wish they had it on all of the Queens – maybe one day they will.

We ended the evening at the Commodore club. It had been a great day, and we sat listening to the music, and sipping  our chocolate affair martinis. The barman said he will continue to make chocolate affair martinis as long as he has the ingredients. I hope he has some control over what is served at the bar, and maybe he should order the ingredients before he runs out.

I was pleased to find out that bar stools will be added to the bar during the next stop in Southampton. I wonder if this was planned all along, or has it been in response to our constant complaints that you cannot sit at the bar. There are also 2 high tables that will be getting stools. That also makes a lot of sense. It will be nice when the room is complete. I am just sorry that I won’t be there on Friday to see it. I will most likely not be having a chocolate affair; I will be finding out what treats Iceland Air has in store for me. The airline keeps on sending me emails to reassure me that their active volcano will not interfere with my flights. Why do they have to keep on telling me this? To paraphrase Gertrude in Hamlet, the airline doth protest too much, me thinks……..

Post Discussion


  1. Mick Bettesworth

    Thank you so much for your most entertaining reports of the 3 voyages.
    You write in a way that makes the reader feel that they are there with you.
    When is your next cruise?

    • Safarigal

      Thank you! Our next trip is camping in the Okavango Delta in Botswana – sleeping on the ground in a pop up tent is going to be quite a change from Cunard. Our next cruise is around Africa in the Seabourn Sojourn. I’m really looking forward to that 🙂

  2. Gordon

    Iceland has recent history concerning flights being grounded due to volcanic activity.

    • Safarigal

      The possibility of being grounded because of volcanic activity like the time when the unpronounceable volcano erupted was much on my mind. Fortunately although the current volcanic activity has closed the Blue Lagoon, it is not interfering with air traffic yet 🙂

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.