days out in South of Ireland
DayOut.ie guide to some Top days out in Cork City and the South of Ireland
Enjoy a day out in Cork
Lifetime Lab, Cork City
Nice stop off on route into Cork city. Lifetime lab is situated on the banks of the River Lee, very close to Fitzgerald Park and Cork city centre. Easily recognisable by the giant smoke stack which was used in the old days to vent exhaust fumes from the coal boilers.
This is the site of the old Cork Water Works. It features restored buildings, a steam museum plant, itself beautifully restored with audio visual presentation, indoor interactive puzzle exhibition for kids and an outdoor children’s playground.
The restored turbines on view in the steam plant building are the original steam turbines from the early 1900s. They were the same as those used in the Titanic – really worth a look. A superb example of 19th century engineering!
Within walking distance of Lifetime Lab, albeit up hill a little! Give yourself 20-30 minutes if you’re pushing buggies. You enter through the high walls of the Cork city gaol perimeter and meet a beautiful internal compound. The walls of the gaol building itself extend out and around to meet you and you can’t help feeling enclosed and small, almost insignificant as you near the main entrance. Perhaps this was the intention in the design! Today, the gaol is a visitor attraction – one can only imagine the athmosphere of this place 100 years ago, when the essence was on functionality and not aesthetics!
It’s well worth paying the few euro for the audio headset tour, as this gives you a personal audio tour of the internal building office and cells. The gaol interior is beautifully restored but manages to retain the authentic sparseness that you would expect of such a location. Recommended on your day out in Cork – a real eye opener and educational experience. Back during its operation, it was not a place designed for comfort. The fact that children and pregnant women were at one time residents here was disturbing, insightful and humbling. One of the best Cork visitor attractions!
Titanic Experience Cobh
In writing this, I’ve got to say that not having been to Cobh before, when I did visit, I fell in love with this little piece of Cork. Scenic and beautiful, with fantastic people, stunning views and a history that is incredibly rich for any aspiring visitor. For history buffs like me, there’s a great deal on offer. The first to greet visitors approaching the coast is the spectacular St Colman’s Cathedral, a static sentinel sitting in splendour from its elevated position over looking the bay. The Cathedral, started in the late 1860s, took over 50 years to complete!
Cobh was also the last place of population on this earth visited by the Titanic – it lay moored off the Cork mainland outside the bay as it collected its final passengers for their trip across the Atlantic; on what they believed was their embarkation to a better life! Just 3 years later, Cobh would again affirm its connection to the sea as it became the final resting place for over 150 victims of the Lusitania – the Cunard ocean liner torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine some 10 miles off the Cork coast during the First World War. 150 bodies were buried in a mass grave 1 mile North of Cobh (then Queenstown). 80 of the bodies were never identified.
With this knowledge, we visited the White Star Titanic Experience Museum, commencing our tour by stepping into the same building and along the same corridor used by those unfortunate souls who left for their passage on RMS Titanic. This is unique history.
There are audio visual snippets along the way, some fantastic photographs, replica berthing rooms, all of which are presented by knowledgeable tour guides. The experience ends in a room containing many interesting exhibits and give yourself the time to take it all in.
Your admission ticket also contains a name and before you leave, you have the opportunity to see if you / the name on your ticket has survived or was lost at sea. It is incredibly poignant. My children were with me on the day of my visit. They each had tickets. Nearly 100 years ago, in a different time and a different life you might have been there, alone, with a partner, with children, buying a ticket to what you believed was a new chapter, a better life. I couldn’t bring myself to check the names on my children’s tickets.
It’s a powerful reminder of that same lottery which saw people with 1 ticket, either survive or perish in the dark, ice cold Atlantic. I’ll remember it always.