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Kieran McCarthy, chief tour guide with Cobh Rebel Walking Tours in County Cork, is asking Newry readers to consider visiting the Irish southern coastal town this summer, if/when allowed to staycation in Ireland following the long covid lockdown.

Kieran McCarthy explained how in July and August of 2020, at least 20% of his staycationing trade came from Belfast visitors, while four of the other northern six counties made up 45% of his overall trade, with only Dublin leading the pack in visitor numbers.

Kieran McCarthy

Kieran McCarthy said visitors will be amazed to learn what the town of Cobh, formally Queenstown, and its massive historical harbour has got to offer. McCarthy said, the town and its port, the second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney in Australia, played a huge role in the growth and expansion of the British empire over the centuries. It also played a significant role in emigration before, during, and after the great famine, as well as the transportation of convicts during the Cromwellian and Victorian eras. The town and harbour also had strong associations with the maritime tragedies of trans-Atlantic Liners of the Titanic and Lusitania, with most of the latter’s, 1,198 victims being buried in mass graves in the town.

Kieran McCarthy went on to explain how during the height of its power, immediately after coming out of WW1 victorious, the British empire experienced a serious set-back through the challenge from the Irish Republican Army, in what became known as the Irish War of Independence. Cobh, a town then situated in the heart of the Lion’s Den, was no exception and on 2nd of July 1920, during the height of hostilities, the town ditched its royal inspired name of Queenstown and opted instead for Cobh, pronounced the same as its older title Cove, which it held up to the time of Queen Victoria’s visit to the port in August 1849.

When the country opens up again you could do a lot worse than to call on the coastal town of Cobh, and to check out their walking tour.   The guided tour involves a two hour walk around the towns perimeter and takes in 16 sites directly related to the War of Independence.  Log onto www.cobhrebelwalkingtours.ie or email cobhrebelwalkingtours@gmail.com or simply phone 0894832126 and book a tour. You won’t be disappointed.

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