“Cobh is an absolute ride of a town.”
This week saw Cobh voted as one of the Top 25 most beautiful small towns in Europe by Condé Nast Traveller. The influential travel magazine described the Cork town as “redefining charming”. With her home enjoying a deserved moment in the spotlight, we asked Cobh native Niamh O’Dea for the insider’s guide to the town’s most Insta-worthy spots. She says:
One of the 25 most beautiful towns in Europe? C’mere Condé Naste, try the most beautiful, like. Cobh is a ride of a town. An absolute ride. A Crayola box of a seafront, with a terrain that would make a mountaineer feel awkward, Cobh wins in both beauty and character.
Of course it’s one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. And you know what that means? Selfie time, of course.
Here’s your guide to filling your feed like a local:
The Heritage Centre or train Train Station is where most tourists disembark, whether by train or liner. The train from Cork to Cobh, by the way, looks like the video background to an online meditation. Take the choo-choo and not just because driving in Cobh forces one to greatly desire that meditation.
The Heritage Centre offers plenty of goodies for history pokers. If you love nothing more than a very graphic recreation of famine-era Ireland, it’s a winner. But if moody photo backdrops that make the Reyes filter really work for you is more your thing, I suggest sulkily leaning up against the beautiful red brick exterior and having your photographer, sorry, boyfriend, grab a snap.
Onwards to the Yacht Club. The world’s oldest, no less. These days it’s an exciting art gallery with some enviable exhibitions. Ask if the balcony is open, this is where you’ll get some of the best Paltrow-esque luxe hippy shots.
If the most newly open eatery is the best indicator of a town’s future, then Cobh’s only going to get hotter. It’s tempting to call the Seasalt Café & Deli a hipster cafe, but it’s got too much of the good stuff to belittle it like that. Committed to being as zero-waste as possible, this is where you go for seriously good locally sourced food and to finally get to use your most humblebrag hashtags.
The food is, it must be said, exceptional and beautifully presented. So that fills your quota of pics that you’re not actually in. Oh, and did I mention the chef is Ballymaloe trained? I know this because she’s my sister. #familyhumblebrag
Tourists regularly stop locals for directions to the “hill of houses”. They mean West View, or the Deck of Cards as it’s known by Cobhies. A remarkable feat of optimistic town planning and a selfie must-stop, the row of houses almost topple off the hill. If you’re wearing heels and/or had a drink, skip it and go the long way. No, really, don’t be a hysterical hero.
If, by some miracle, you make it up the hill, swing right and head for St. Benedict’s Priory. The beautiful gardens and OMG view are blessedly overlooked by most tourists. After oh-look-a-butterfly-ing around the gardens, head to the homely tea rooms for some instant coffee and proper homemade apple tart. You can even pick up some crafts made by the resident nuns.
Next, amble down to St. Colman’s cathedral. It’s a beast of a church, photobombing every photo ever taken of Cobh. It would be rude not to get an up-the-nose selfie with it leaning menacingly over your shoulder. The views are sensational too, but if you’re in Cobh and not being awed by a view, you’re probably in a loo.
View this post on Instagram
?Cobh – a picturesque seaport town on the south coast of County Cork. This beautiful harbor was the very last stop for the Titanic before setting out across the Atlantic… most likely, its also the harbor that my family emigrated out of a hundred years ago. ?⚓️☘️ • • • #CountyCork #CobhPort #CorkHarbour #DeckOfCards #StColmansCathedral #Queenstown #TitanicExperience #Cobh #Ireland
Now you swing round a 50 degree bend (I did warn you about driving), and head back downtown. Ryng’s corner is Cobh’s answer to the Flatiron building in New York. Keep going to the beautiful old town house. You’re by the sea again. Windy selfie time.
View this post on Instagram
sunset dream #Cobh ?? . #FUJIFILM E900 RAF . #Ireland #Cork @pictureIreland @Photosofdublin @VisitCobh @kerriecullinan #davidrbcelta #amazing_shots #PintoFotografía #Photolari #ig_heartshot #worldprime #VanguardWorldES #catalunya_foto #world_great #catalanspelmon #celscatalans #megustaesterincon #seasons_illife #total_meteo #ig_naturemagic #ok_sunset #asi_es_cielos #sunset #sunsets#sunsetlovers #sunrise #amanecer
Before you leave Cobh, be sure to thank the good lord for Cobh Tidy Towns. Surely the hardest working of its kind in this nation. Spearheading environmental initiatives, creating interesting events to engage the community, and picking up every last piece of litter some eejit has had the audacity to chuck, they are heroes without capes. Actually, I bet Condé Naste know some good cape makers.
Niamh O’Dea is the Social Nerd at Brand Nerds.