Welcome to Cobh Heritage Centre.
From 1848 – 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – over 2.5 million departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration.
This exodus from Ireland was largely as a result of poverty, crop failures, the land system and a lack of opportunity. Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease.
Many famine emigrants went initially to British North America (now Canada) because of fare structures and government regulations, but the majority subsequently settled in the United States. The famine resulted as a consequence of widespread potato crop failure. Failure of the crop was not unusual in Ireland so the partial failures in 1845 did not cause particular concern. In 1846 the potato crop failed completely and in the years 1847-1849 there was either total or partial crop failure of whatever potato crop could be planted. Escape was seen by many as the only chance for survival : between 1845 and 1851 over 1,500,000 people emigrated from Ireland This was more than had left the country in the previous half century.
Annie Moore Statue in Cobh
Located outside the Cobh Heritage Centre is the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers.
Annie Moore became the first ever emigrant to be processed in Ellis Island when it officially opened on 1st January 1892. Annie and her brothers sailed from Queenstown on the SS Nevada on the 20th December and arrived after 12 days of travelling in steerage. The statue outside Cobh Heritage Centre was unveiled by President Mary Robinson on the 9th February 1993. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York which represents not only the honour of her being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island but also stands as a symbol of the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey.