... (now known as Cobh – pronounced 'cove') is on the south side of the Great Island in Cork Harbour. The island forms the northern shore of the harbour; it is separated from the mainland by the River Ballynacorra to the east and the Belvelly Channel to the north. The island's western shore is on the River Lee (which flows through the city of Cork before joining the sea). It's connected to the mainland by means of a road bridge at Belvelly, and a rail bridge that connects Cobh to the city of Cork.

The village of Ballyvoloon was first referred to as Cove in 1750, and in 1849 it was renamed Queenstown to commemorate a visit from Queen Victoria. In 1920 it was renamed Cobh by the new authorities of the Irish Free State. Cobh is a Gaelicisation of the English name Cove; it's pronounced the same, but has no meaning in the Irish language.

Queenstown (or Cobh) was the departure point for 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. One hundred and twenty–three people boarded the Titanic there; 79 of them died when the ship sank.

During the First World War, Queenstown was a naval base for British and American destroyers operating against the U–boats that preyed upon Allied merchant shipping. The heavily–armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure the German submarines into making surface attacks, were called Q–ships because many of them were fitted out in Queenstown.

When the Cunard passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a German U–boat off the Old Head of Kinsale (a few miles down the coast) in 1915, the 700 survivors were brought to Queenstown, as were the recovered bodies of the dead. Over 100 of the 1,198 fatalities were buried in the Old Church Cemetery just north of the town.

© Haydn Thompson 2017