Port Cobh (cruise port for Cork) is Ireland's 2nd largest seaport (after Dublin). The distance Cobh - Cork is approx 20 km (12 mi). The port also serves as main seaport for the country's southern part. It handles all types of vessels, including Ro-Ro (vehicle carriers), cargo (containers, liquid-, dry- and break bulk) and passenger (ferries and cruise) ships. In 2012, the port's cargo shipping volume was over 9 million tons.
Largest vessels (mainly cargo ships) with DWT tonnage above 60,000 tons dock at Cobh port. Cork Harbour's entrance allows vessels with DWT up to 90,000 tons, but farther inland the navigation channels get shallower resulting in constricted access.
Cobh is a port town located on Ireland's southern coast. The small town (population around 13,000) is on the south side of Cork Harbour's Great Island. This port has Ireland's only dedicated cruise terminal facility.
Cork City has population around 125,000 (metro over300,000), ranking it ireland's 2nd largest (after country's capital Dublin). The city is built on River Lee which splits into a pair of channels at city's western end. The city centre is divided by the two channels. At the eastern end they reconverge - the quays and docks along Lee's banks there lead outwards to Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world.
The city's nickname "the rebel city" originates from the support for Yorkist cause during the 15th century Wars of the Roses in England. Corkonians often refer to their city as "the real capital" in reference to its role during the Irish Civil War as the centre of anti-treaty forces.
Cork features notable buildings that originate from Medieval to Modern periods. The sole notable remnant of Medieval era is Cork's Red Abbey. There are a couple of cathedrals in the city: Saint Mary's and Saint Fin Barre's. Saint Patrick's Street is the city's main street which was remodelled during the mid-2000s. It is the main shopping thoroughfare, known for the architecture of buildings along a pedestrian-friendly route.
Port Cork is located at Ringaskiddy, approx 16 km (10 mi) south-east via road N28. There are Direct cargo and passenger shipping services to the UK and France. A Water Taxi service has been proposed to link Cork with cities in the lower harbour. Tourist attractions include Queenstown Story at Cobh Heritage Centre, Titanic Trail walking tour, Titanic Experience, Cobh Road Train, Cobh Museum, St Colman's Cathedral, Spike Island tours.
Tourism in the region draws on town's maritime and emigration legacy, including its association with RMS Titanic, which departed from Cork Harbour on its first and last voyage in 1912. The town was home to the only steelworks in Ireland, former state-owned Irish Steel works - closed by Ispat International (its buyer) in 2001.
Facing Cobh are Haulbowline Island and Spike Island. Saint Colman's Cathedral is one of the country's tallest buildings. Port Cobh was first named "The Cove of Cork" (or simply "Cove") in 1750. In 1849 it was renamed to "Queenstown" to commemorate the memorable visit by Queen Victoria (1819-1901, Queen of the UK and Ireland). In 1920, the new port authorities renamed it Cobh.
During the 21st century, several new developments were finished, including a new retail park at Ticknock (2008), and a leisure centre featuring a 25 m (80 ft) swimming pool (August 2007). The nearest airport is Cork Airport, reached in around 30 min from Cobh via roads R624 and N25.
Port Operations Centre for Cork Harbour is in the town. In 1993 was inaugurated Cross River Ferry allowing regularly scheduled daily crossings (car and passenger ferry travel) from Glenbrook (close to Monkstown) to Carrigaloe (Great Island). The Glenbrook-Carrigaloe crossing takes just 4 min and the service runs daily.
The Port of Cork Company manages both ports (Cobh and Cork) and also provides maritime assistance (pilotage and towage) for all vessels that enter Cork Harbour. The Port Authority requires all vessels docking in Cork City to be piloted. Pilotage is also required for all larger vessels (with LOA length over 130 m / 427 ft) once they pass within 4,6 km (2,9 mi) after entering Cork Harbour.
Port Cork has berthing (ship docking) facilities in Cork City, as well at Cobh, Tivoli, and Ringaskiddy. Cork City's port facilities serve primarily grain and oil shipping. Most of port's berths (11 in total) are privately owned.
Port's facilities at Tivoli serve mainly container shipping, but also oil tankers, livestock carriers and Ro-Ro ships. Tivoli's Ro-Ro ramp is currently used mainly by car-importing companies. In 2006, this port reported a record of 185,000 TEUs (containers) handled.
Ringaskiddy Ferry Port serves mainly ferries to France and UK. As Ringaskiddy is also a deep-water port, here was built Cork port's 2nd containership terminal, with annual capacity ~400,000 TEU-containers. Brittany Ferries serve the Ro-Ro traffic to Roscoff (Brittany, France) during summer and late autumn (May through November). Brittany Ferries ships are homeported at Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal (Cork). In January 2020, after 2 years of operation, Brittany Ferries closed the ferry route connecting Cork directly with Spain. The twice per week service was terminated as customers prefer the alternative Ireland-Spain route Rosslare-Bilbao.
On April 24, 2020, was inaugurated a weekly cargo shipping service (by the company CLdN Ro-Ro) that links Cork with Belgium (Zeebrugge).
Cobh Cork cruise port
Cruise liner visits contribute to Cork's economy ~GBP 4 million annually. Port's cruising season is late March through November. The number of Cobh-Cork visiting cruise ships is steadily increasing. In 2011, Cork Harbour was visited by 53 cruise ships, most of which berthing at Deepwater Quay. Port Cobh also has private berths scattered around the harbour (including in Haulbowline, Passage West, Ringaskiddy, Rushbrooke, Whitegate).
In 2015, the cruise port handled 54 ship calls and 102,217 passengers. In 2016, this number dropped by 12,4% (89,686 passengers), with ship visits remaining 54. In 2017, the port handled 64 cruise ship calls and around 160,000 passengers and crew. In 2018 were handled 92 ship calls and around 157,000 passengers plus 69,000 crew, with total economic impact around EUR 12 million.
In July 2017 were announced plans for building a new cruise terminal at Deepwater Quay (Port Cobh) - read more in the "terminal" section below.
For season 2019 were booked for berthing a total of 103 cruise ships, including maiden calls by Celebrity Reflection and the newbuilds Scenic Eclipse (2019) and Nieuw Statendam (2018, Holland America Line). The season ended with 100 handled ship calls and 243,000+ passengers and crew.
Cobh-Cork cruise terminal
Currently. most cruise ships dock (berth) in Cork Harbour and next to Cobh Heritage Centre (in the town's centre). Named "Cobh Cruise Liner Terminal", this is the only dedicated cruise terminal in Ireland.
Smaller-sized cruise vessels (with LOA length less than 152 m / 500 ft) usually dock / berth directly in Cork, after scenic cruising along River Lee's channels. Tourism industry is Cobh's major employer. The small town has population around 13,000. Large cruise ships visit the port town each year, mainly during summer. Usually, cruise tourists are transported from Cobh to Cork by tour buses.
In Cobh port there is train station serving the port's railway connection to Cork's city center. Train travel time is approx 30 min. During cruise ship visits, trains between Cong and Cork run every 30 min.
(new) Deepwater Quay Cork Cruise Terminal
A new cruise terminal is planned to be built at Port Cobh's Deepwater Quay. The project's estimated cost is up to GBP 15 million. The facility is expected to be completed and operational by the year 2020. The new passenger terminal not only ensures additional berths for cruise liners, but would also become a hub for maritime activities.
In 2015, Port Cork invested GBP 1,5 million in upgrading Cobh Cruise Liner Terminal. The project included installing new high-load mooring bollards (at the berth's east and west ends) which enables docking of bigger-sized vessels. Now, Port Cobh Cork can handle up to Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships (LOA length 348 m / 1142 ft).
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