Things to do in Cobh, Ireland

This picturesque harbor town, pronounced “cove”, offers a peaceful atmosphere, stunning views, and a rich history that will captivate both kids and adults alike. Below, we have rounded up the top 11 things to do in Cobh, Ireland.

Things to do in Cobh, Ireland

Getting to Cobh, Ireland

Cobh is best enjoyed with the flexibility of having your own rental car. Street parking overnight in most areas is free of charge, but you need to feed the meter (or depart) by 9am each morning.

Cobh is about a 3 hour drive from Dublin, 25 minutes from Cork, or 90 minutes from from Killarney.

Where to Stay in Cobh, Ireland

We highly recommend making Cobh your peaceful home base while you explore all that Cork County has to offer. We stayed at this spacious Airbnb for our group of 8. Here are more top stays in the area for couples or families:

Each of these make a great home base to explore all the top things to do in Cobh, Ireland that I’ve shared below.

Things to do in Cobh, Ireland Airbnb

The Roaring Donkey

Immerse yourselves in the vibrant local culture at The Roaring Donkey. This cozy pub is known for its traditional Irish music, or ‘trad music,’ which fills the air many evenings. Call ahead to find out when you can enjoy live music. It’s a great place to relax with a drink and enjoy authentic Irish tunes.

Don’t worry about bringing the kids along—they are welcomed inside until 9pm! We found a cozy booth where my 3 year old curled up for bed at 8pm, lulled to sleep by the tunes and comfortable setting.

Located at the top of the hill, the Roaring Donkey is well worth the climb. As you step inside, you’ll be enveloped by its genuine atmosphere and warm hospitality, a beloved stable in town since 1880.

Whether you’re a music lover, a history buff, or simply in search of a good pint and conversation with locals, the Roaring Donkey promises a memorable visit.

Things to do in Cobh, Ireland The Roaring Donkey

St. Colman’s Cathedral

No visit to Cobh would be complete without seeing St. Colman’s Cathedral. It’s the town’s centerpiece.

This towering neo-Gothic cathedral dominates the town’s skyline and offers breathtaking views of the harbor from its hilltop location.

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Historic City Center

Additionally, Cobh’s historic downtown is a must-see. Its narrow streets are lined with brightly painted buildings, giving the town a cheerful and welcoming vibe. The downtown area is also home to several shops and restaurants, perfect for a family day out.

You can also enjoy a waterside park and sip your coffee while kids play and watch the boats pass by. There’s a small playground in the waterfront park, near the rotunda.

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Day trip to Cork City

Visit the famous Blarney Castle, walk the Shandon Mile, and indulge your senses at the English Market. Check out our full guide on Cork City.

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Tour the Titanic Museum

Did you know that Cobh, then known as Queenstown, was the Titanic’s last port of call?

The Titanic Experience in Cobh is a must-visit for families looking to step back in time and immerse themselves in history. Located in the original White Star Line Ticket Office, this museum takes you on a unique journey through the tragic tale of the Titanic’s final passengers.

Your experience begins with a guided tour, lasting about 30 minutes. During this time, you’ll learn fascinating stories of the people who boarded the ill-fated ship right from this very port. The guides do a fantastic job of bringing these tales to life, keeping both adults and kids engaged.

After the tour, you’re free to explore the exhibition area at your own pace. This section houses a variety of interactive exhibits and displays that provide further insights into the Titanic’s journey and its passengers. Do allow approximately an hour for your visit to fully take in all the museum has to offer.

As for saving money, booking in advance is highly recommended as the tours have limited capacity. Not only does this secure your spot, but pre-booking often comes at a discounted rate. Plus, it saves you from any potential disappointment of a sold-out tour.

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Collect Sea Glass

Spend a day at a rocky beach, where you can search for seashells and other treasures. We found such incredible variety of sea glass, colorful stones, and washed up pieces of pottery. We enjoyed collecting so much we returned the next day. The beach we explored was right next to the Titanic memorial on the east side of town.

Thing to do in Cobh, Ireland Sea Glass

Visit Ireland’s Alcatraz

Hop on a boat to Spike Island, often referred to as ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz.’

Your adventure starts with a scenic ferry ride from Kennedy Pier in Cobh. This 15-20 minute trip not only offers beautiful views of Cork Harbor but also sets the stage for your visit with an overview of the history and heritage of Cobh.

Once you step foot on the island, you can look forward to a guided tour that will take you through former prison buildings, offering a glimpse into Ireland’s 1300 years of Irish past. If you’re feeling more independent, there’s also the option for a self-guided tour using a free map and app. You can dive even deeper into the island’s history with the Augmented Reality immersive experience.

For the little ones, Spike Island offers nature walks that are sure to keep them engaged and excited. The island is equipped with a café, toilets, and a gift shop. The paths are stroller-friendly, making it convenient for families with small children.

From exploring prison cells and deep tunnels to strolling around museums, there’s plenty to engage curious minds.

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Animal Encounters at Fota Wildlife Park

At Fota Wildlife park, you can get up close and personal with the beloved animals. Read more in this guide.

Let the Kids Operate Construction Equipment at Leahy’s

Have a fun-filled day at Leahy’s Open Farm. Here, kids can even operate JCB diggers—a unique experience they won’t forget!

Leahy’s Open Farm in East Cork is a real gem for families, especially those with little kids. This working farm experience is well-organized and full of fun activities that will keep the whole family entertained.

From the moment you enter, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who are always ready to help. One of the highlights for children is the petting and feeding times with the animals.

But that’s not all! Leahy’s farm also offers digger rides, adventure trails, climbing frames, a maze, and even go-karts. There’s so much to do that you’re guaranteed a full day of fun. Plus, the farm is very accessible with a stroller. Packing a picnic can save on food costs as there are plenty of picnic areas available.

Photograph the Deck of Cards Houses

One of Cobh’s most famous landmarks is its “Deck of Cards” houses. This quirky row of colorful terraced homes, each one higher than the last, makes for a fantastic photo opportunity.

The best way to capture this photo is from a spot called spy hill, by reaching above a stone wall to snag the shot. I had to send my husband as I’m vertically challenged.

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Bonus: A Detour to One of Ireland’s Best Kept Secrets

If you’re traveling southwest to Cobh, you won’t want to skip a brief detour to the mystical Ballysaggartmore Towers.

These stunning gothic-style buildings are set amidst beautiful woods, making it the perfect place to let little ones explore and get fresh air. The forest surrounding the Towers is a playground for exploration. There are pleasant walking trails that wind through the woods, offering fantastic views and a chance to spot local wildlife. And don’t forget to pack a picnic, as there are several picturesque spots perfect for a family lunch.

As you approach the Towers, you’ll be captivated by their fairy-tale-like appearance. But every classic fairy tail comes with a dark side. Built by Arthur Kiely-Ussher in 1850, known for his cruel behavior, adds some mystery to the visit. The Towers serve as grandiose entrances to the unfinished estate that Arthur envisioned before his fortune was wittled away. It seems Karma was at work here.

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Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Cobh, Ireland

Above all the things to do in Cobh, Ireland, make sure to find the opportunity to chat with a local. True to the “gift of the gab” legends of the Blarney stone, the people of Cork county are excellent conversationalists.

With its blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do in Cobh, Ireland for all ages.

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