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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cobh, Ireland (Queenstown from1849-1921 under English rule)

     Cobh, Ireland (pronounced "Cove"), is the second-largest natural harbor in the world after Sydney, Australia. Each year around sixty cruise liners visit the port. We visited the waterfront town for several other reasons.
Waterfront Cobh, Ireland
     For many years Cobh was the port for Cork, lying on a glittering estuary dotted with brightly colored houses and overlooked by the massive St. Colman's Cathedral high above the town. More on the Cathedral later.
     Charley's family history could be traced to County Kildare and later County Cork and the port of Cobh. From 1848 to 1950 no fewer than 2.5 million emigrants left the port for other lands. During the famine years (named "The Great Potato Famine," although there was a plentiful supply of potatoes but the English demanded the shipments), seventy thousand people left from Cobh to escape the ravages of starvation.
Statue of Annie Moore and children, representing all those who left to seek a better life.
     In 1838 the Sirius sailed from Cobh, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. In 1912 Cobh was the final port of call for the Titanic. And in 1915 the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Kinsale. Survivors were brought to Cobh and many victims were buried there.
     We visited "Cobh, the Queenstown Story" exhibit in the Cobh Heritage Center, where we saw convicts' quarters below deck on their way to Australia, "so airless that candles could not burn." We saw families of emigrants in steerage quarters and read their diaries. The howl of a storm almost knocked us off-balance. We saw photos of those who had crossed on the Lusitania before its fateful voyage.
A passenger documented her Atlantic crossing on the Lusitania 1913
We saw recreations of life aboard the Lusitania, complete with china, linen tablecloths, and drawing rooms that rivaled the finest mansions of the time.
     We went next door to the "Titanic Experience Cobh" in the original White Star Line offices, where 123 passengers embarked on the SS Titanic. The technical wizardry was impressive but more memorable was standing on the spot from which passengers were ferried to the waiting ship offshore, never to return.
     Before our trip to Ireland, Charley and I had both read Dead Wake by Erik Larson. It's the story of those who sailed on the Lusitania, as well as those who destroyed it, hour by hour from its sailing in New York to its sinking off the Irish coast. We paid a visit to the massive French Gothic St. Colman's Cathedral, out of all proportion to the town, where many of the bodies lay after tragedy struck.
Cobh waterfront 1880's with St. Colman's Cathedral in background
     Begun in 1868, the Cathedral was not completed until 1915, mostly through donations from nostalgic Irish communities in the US and Australia. We did not see or hear its famous 47-bell carillon, the largest in Ireland.
Inside St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh
     In fact, we didn't examine much inside the Cathedral. A shrouded body lay beneath the altar waiting to go to its final resting place, apropos of the Lusitania story. Since we were the only ones inside the Cathedral, we abandoned our tour and let the soul journey in peace.