Cobh, a mere fishing village 250 years ago, owes its growth to the Napoleonic War and transatlantic shipping. Cork Harbour was strategically very important in naval terms and Cobh, then known as Queenstown, quickly developed to meet the needs of naval personnel.

The first steamer to cross the Atlantic, the Sirius, left from Cork Harbour. As the age of sail passed, the harbour and town played host to transatlantic liners and its inhabitants became accustomed to stars of screen and stage and dignitaries of church and state passing through it.

The Lusitania was making its approach to Cork Harbour when it was torpedoed in 1915 and Cork Harbour was also the last port of call of the ill-fated Titanic.

Its maritime history has left its mark on the architecture of the town and on the cosmopolitan character of its people.