Cobh, Ireland

Our second day in Ireland was mostly spent driving to our next destination with a short stop in the middle. That was the beauty of this trip. Even though we covered a lot of ground, neither of us ever felt pressed for time – and that’s saying something considering we drove almost the entire country in nine days. We could make random stops for lunch or tea and a walk through the towns while not having to rush to our next destination. We controlled the pace at all times; I can’t say that about any other international trip I’ve ever done. Ireland is a unique country with tons to see, but the culture is not a busy one.

After we spent the morning in Dublin seeing a few more sights we got in our car and headed to Cobh (pronounced like “cove”). This stop is one that Chase and I still talk and laugh about, and you’ll find out why later in this post. Cobh is in County Cork, which is in the southern part of Ireland. Cork is one of the bigger cities in County Cork that most people would think important to visit. However, after reading plenty of articles and blogs, I decided to bypass that city for this smaller, less-touristy seaside town. Cobh can be described as a quaint, vibrant port town with beautiful views of the sea. As soon as we arrived we knew exactly where we wanted to go first: St. Colman’s Cathedral. This cathedral is made of limestone in the Neo-gothic style, and it is breathtaking. On top of that, it is proudly situated with views of the harbor from the front doors.

I had a “non-negotiable” on my to-do list for Cobh. I had seen an image of the cathedral when reading about Cobh for our trip and I wanted to capture it too. It’s an iconic shot, and it encompasses the feel of the entire town: the larger-than-life cathedral, the colorful rows of homes (which are everywhere!), and the water. Little did I know the complexity of actually getting this shot. When we left the cathedral I knew what direction we needed to head next in order to get this angle. Chase was wanting to grab lunch by this time, but I somehow convinced him to let me get this shot first. If you know my husband at all you know food is a big deal, and he eats like a horse. I reassured him this will be quick and easy. So he prolonged his hunger for my want. I have a good husband.

We walked up a steep road (think San Francisco steep), and halfway through our climb I heard Chase angrily moan behind me.

“UGH!!”

I turned around to see him looking at his hand in disgust. A bird had dropped a big ‘ol poop on his shaved head, and now it was all over his fingers. We had no napkins or wipes of any kind. All I had was our printed itinerary which I handed to him while trying not to laugh, because he was not only hungry (and slightly cranky because of that) but he now had a new birth mark on his scalp.┬áHe wiped off what he could with the sheet of paper, and we continued on to find that perfect angle. I have a good husband.

We finally arrived at a hill that was probably about 100 feet tall and was covered with wild plants, but at the top was the spot where I could get my shot. This hill was so steep I was using both my hands AND feet to climb. I told Chase it was not worth getting the shot. If you’re a photographer you know we do anything to get our shot. ANYTHING. Steep hills aren’t usually scary, but this one was. Chase refused to let me say no and reminded me this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I wouldn’t regret. We made our way up this hill, which seemed doable now that I could climb with just my feet, keeping my weight forward. Let’s not forget that it had rained all day. I was in my Clark boots (which have a smooth, grip-less bottom), with four thousand dollars worth of camera equipment on my back. Chase pulled me up the last few feet, and I looked up, and there it was. Victory and views. My hands had been digging in the few patches of soil, my clothes were drenched in sweat, and I was just plain tired. I got my shot quickly because only the Lord knows how much I wanted to get back to level ground. The climb up wasn’t bad compared to the climb down. The plants that cover this slope must have been straight from Lord Voldemort’s personal garden. Even the slightest graze, and I could feel the burning and stinging through my jeans. I’m crying. Chase is laughing. And I’m pointing out his new poop birthmark to make myself feel better. I wish I had photos of this entire ordeal, because my words don’t do it justice. I have never cried and laughed like that. Chase has definitely laughed at me like that. I have a good husband.

 

Our last stop in Cobh was the Titanic Bar, which ended up being a lovely surprise. Fortunately for Chase, they had a bathroom…that birthmark on his scalp didn’t last very long. We sat down inside the bar and ordered some lunch (finally!) and a drink. Since we were in a port town it was only right to order the fish and chips. After scarfing down our lunch we took our drinks outside on the patio and enjoyed a panoramic view of the harbor. There is a bit of history where this bar is located. At the edge where the patio meets the sea there is railing, and on the other side of the railing you see a very old piece of history that looks untouched: a dock. Cobh was formerly known as Queenstown, which was the final port of call for the Titanic when she set out on her journey across the Atlantic. This old rickety dock was the dock where the Titanic last stopped before its fateful end. The last place passengers could get on or off the ship.

After enjoying our drinks on the back patio, we walked along the harbor looking at all the boats, waving to seamen as they rode by, and capturing the vintage feel of this town. It was a short but enjoyable (and humourous) lunch stop packed with memories we would’ve never anticipated.

 

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