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Cobh, The Port Formerly Known As Queenstown

IRELAND | Tuesday, 22 July 2014 | Views [613]

Queenstown; Then

Queenstown; Then

WHEN I ASKED WHERE IN IRELAND WE HAILED FROM, I seem to remember my grandfather mentioning County Cork.  Or maybe not.  From our on the ground research here in Ireland we learned that the Maginnesses were a powerful family in County Down in Ulster, now Northern Ireland — even owned a castle there — but we can't find any record of them in Cork.  Records of the time are scarce; Ireland didn't conduct its first census until 1821 and the records from then until 1865 were burned in a fire.  Parish records up until the turn of the century were ordered destroyed by the ruling English.

Whether great-great-grandfather Bryan actually lived in County Cork or worked his way down there during the Famine years, it was most likely Queenstown that he sailed from in 1867.  Like hundreds of thousands of others fleeing Ireland in the 19th Century, he probably boarded one of the thrice weekly steamers headed for the US, Australia and Canada.

now

    Cobh today

Cobh, as the port town is now known, looks much like it would have when Bryan stayed there, possibly in one of the quayside boarding houses that still stand.  Even the Scots Church at which he may have said his final prayers on Irish soil still remains.  Besides being the last bit of Ireland seen by many Sons — and Daughters — of the Sod, Queenstown would be the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic.

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