Monday 8th July
Even born in Scotland the pronunciation of Gaelic names comes as a challenge to me, whether in Ireland or the West of Scotland. And with no k, q, v, w, x, y or z in the core alphabet the English speaker gets very confused by the combinations of letters used in, for example, my daughter’s name Mhairi (pronounced “Vari”) and Cobh (pronounced “Cove”).
However difficult to pronounce, Cobh is a beautiful spot in the heart of what is said to be the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney Harbour. It has a lovely water front of brightly painted shops that reminds me of a bigger version of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, and still gives a great view of the military and container ships using the port. And the quite modern cathedral towering above the town is well worth a visit for its fresh architecture.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect for the modern visitor is the relatively newly opened Titanic Exhibition. It is not as spectacular as the one in Belfast where the Titanic was built, but it is very informative and very poignant given it is set in the very building with the very pier (see below) from which the final set of passengers embarked before Titanic set out for its first and last crossing of the Atlantic.
Despite its weird spelling, Cobh is well worth a visit; especially in weather where Factor 30 is more important for your comfort than a cagoule!