There are plenty of things to do in Cobh regardless of when you visit.
From colourful houses and museums to (supposedly) haunted hotels and buzzy little pubs, there’s plenty of things to see in what is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in Cork.
In the guide below, you’ll find a clatter of things to do in Cobh along with some advice on where to visit nearby. Dive on in!
The best things to do in Cobh in Cork
If you’re not familiar with Cobh (pronounced ‘Cove’), it’s a little town in Cork that’s located on a small island in Cork City’s busy harbour.
The town is arguably best known as being the last port of call for the now infamous Titanic, way back in 1912. As you can probably imagine, there’s plenty of Titanic-related attractions to explore.
1. Spike Island
Hands-down the best of the many different things to do in Cobh is to take a short ferry ride from the village over to the often-missed Spike Island.
Over the past 1,300 years (yes, 1,300), the mighty Spike Island has been home to a 6th-century Monastery, a 24-acre Fortress and what was once the biggest convict depot in the world.
At one point during its lifetime, Spike Island housed convicts prior to penal transportation to Australia. This is how it earned itself the nickname ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’.
2. The Deck of Cards
Cobh’s Deck of Cards tend to go viral about 1,000 times per year on Instagram and Facebook and, to be fair, it’s not hard to see why.
The colourful houses, finely set against the backdrop of the magnificent St. Coleman’s Cathedral, are a sight to behold. It’s no surprise that they attract budding photographers from far and wide.
If you want to see the Deck of Cards from above, you’ll need to head for ‘Spy Hill’. Pop it into Google maps and you’ll find it easily enough.
Now, a quick warning – if you want to see them from Spy Hill, you’ll need to climb up on a high-ish wall, so be careful! Another handy spot that you can see them from is the little park right next to the houses.
Related read: Have a nosey at our guide to 41 of the best things to do in Cork at any time of the year. It’s packed with walks, hikes, history and plenty more.
3. The Titanic Experience
You’ll regularly see the Titanic Experience top guides to the best things to do in Cobh. I’ve chatted to a lot of people that have visited over the years and they’ve all said that it’d well worth a visit.
On the 11th April 1912, the Titanic called to the port of Queenstown (now known as Cobh) on her maiden voyage. What happened next has been the subject of films, documentaries and countless books.
You’ll find the Titanic Experience Cobh in the original White Star Line Ticket Office in the centre of the town in what was the departure point for the last passengers who boarded the ship.
The visitor experience here is split into 2 parts: part 1 is an immersive audio-visual tour that retraces the steps of the 123 passengers who boarded in Cobh.
Part 2 takes visitors through how all went wrong for the Titanic, using computer-generated graphics that recreate the collision and sinking.
4. St. Colman’s Cathedral
If you’re pondering on ‘What to do in Cobh and you’ve no interest in the Titanic,’ a visit to St. Colman’s Cathedral should be plonked right at the top of your list.
This magnificent cathedral, one of the more famous landmarks in Ireland, began its construction journey back in 1868 and took a lengthy 47 years to complete!
If you’re fond of a fine bit of architecture, St .Colman’s will enrich your Cobh experience. Begin by sauntering around its stunning exterior – it’s impressive from both near and afar.
Then step inside to appreciate the intricacies of its interior design. This is one of the most popular places to visit in Cobh for good reason.
5. Food then The Titanic Trail tour
If you’re in need of a feed, it’s hard to beat the brilliant (and very central!) Seasalt Cafe. Make your belly happy and then head off on the excellent Titanic Trail.
If you read our guide to the best things to do in Kinsale, you’ll have seen me rave about locally-run walking tours.
Those that head off on a guided walk along the Titanic Trail will explore the historic town of Cobh, where many of the buildings and streets are exactly the same as the were when the Titanic met its fate in 1912.
Related read: Check out our guide to 30+ of the best things to do West Cork at any time of the year.
6. Cobh Heritage Centre
If you’re looking for things to do in Cobh when it’s raining, get yourself to Cobh Heritage Centre and discover the ‘Queenstown Story’.
The ‘Queenstown Story’ offers visitors an insight into the story of Irish emigration from as far back as the 1600’s. The exhibition can be found in the restored Victorian railway station, a building steeped in history.
The ‘Queenstown Story’ offers an insight into everything from the transportation of convicts from Ireland to Australia to the often-unheard story of the Irish indentured servants in the West Indies.
The exhibition is full of stories and history and gives visitors the opportunity to explore our rich historic past and engage with the stories told.
7. Fota Wildlife Park
Now, our next stop isn’t technically in Cobh, but it’s very close by, so I’ve decided to whack it in here! You’ll find the incredible Fota Wildlife Park on Fota Island, a stone’s throw from Cobh.
The wildlife park has been entertaining locals and tourists alike since 1983, and it operates as an independently funded charity.
Those that visit can expect to see 30 different mammal species and over 50 different bird species, many of which are allowed to roam freely in the park.
This is one of the top things to do in Cobh with kids – you’ll get to see everything from giraffes and bison to wallabies and lemurs.
8. The Titanic Ghost Tour
See the most noteworthy places to visit in Cobh on the exceptional Titanic Ghost Tour (affiliate link) where you’ll be treated to an engaging blend of history and supernatural lore.
This unique adventure, which unfolds over approximately one hours, explores Cobh’s historic ties with the ill-fated Titanic while unveiling the town’s often haunting past.
You’ll also discover the tale of an apparition, the haunting of Pillars Bar, and the phantom wails of a child from a popular hotel.
9. Visit the supposedly haunted Commodore Hotel
I had food in the Commodore Hotel in Cobh a few years ago. After he took our order, the lad serving us had asked what places in Cobh we’d visited and what else we planned on seeing.
After we’d finished chatting, he mentioned that the hotel, which was built in 1854, was supposedly haunted. Apparently, the Commodore was used as a makeshift morgue and hospital at one point.
It was during the First World War that those wounded in battle were taken to the Commodore.
Is it really haunted? Who knows! Maybe book a night here and see what happens… Check out our Cobh hotels guide to find a place to stay!
10. Grab a feed at the Titanic Bar and Grill
You’ll find the Titanic Bar and Grill in what was once the ticket office for The White Star Line, right next to the water.
This is one of several restaurants in Cobh where you’ll be treated to a view and a half, which makes it the perfect spot for an end-of-day feed.
If you arrive on a day where the weather is half-decent, try and grab a seat out on the deck area. You can enjoy food or a drink with mighty views of the harbour from here.
There are plenty of other great spots in Cobh for a bite to eat if you don’t fancy nipping in here. Some other places that I’ve had recommended to me over the years are:
- The Quays
- Gilbert’s Bistro
- Sorrento Fish and Chips
11. Things to do near Cobh
After you’ve ticked-off the many places to visit in Cobh, you’re in luck – there’s endless things to do near Cobh a handy drive away.
One of the more popular spots is Blarney Castle (30-min drive), home to the famous Blarney Stone.
The many things to do in Cork City are also a short 25-minute drive away.
What things to do in Cobh have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that there’s probably plenty of other great things to do in Cobh that we’ve unintentionally excluded from the guide above.
If you have a recommendation, let me know in the comments section below and we’ll check it out! Cheers!
FAQs about what to do in Cobh, Ireland
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What to do in Cobh when it rains?’ to ‘What Cobh attractions are best?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Cobh, Ireland?
Visit Spike Island. See the colourful Deck of Cards in Cobh. Kick-back with a pint in Kelly’s. Have a nosey around St Colman’s Cathedral. Step back in time at Titanic Experience Cobh.
What is there to do in Cobh when it’s raining?
If you visit Cobh when it’s lashing down, your best bet is to get to the Titanic Experience and to do the tour. You can then grab a bit of lunch before grabbing a ferry over to Spike Island.
What Cobh attractions should I visit if I’m only there for a few hours?
If you’re only visiting for a couple of hours, you could head up to see the Deck of Cards and then head off on the Titanic Experience Tour.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.