May 12, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer
At 6 a.m., National Geographic Explorer entered the outer harbor of Cobh and slowly cruised up the channel to dock right by the town. Cobh is famous for being the last place Titanic moored before she departed on her fateful journey. It is also the place where thousands of migrants boarded ships to find a better life in the United States, Australia, and Canada.
We disembarked and headed off to various locations including the Titanic museum and Cuskiny, a nature walk. On the walk, guests spotted birds including chaffinches, little grebes, brent geese, and moorhens. We heard several more species, such as the reed warbler. A bonus was seeing a peregrine falcon near the end of the tour. What really made the day special though was the weather! It was a beautiful spring day with lots of sun and almost no wind.
In the afternoon, we watched a hurling match. Hurling is an ancient sport played in Ireland and in several countries where Irish emigrated and brought it with them. Players have a stick or a “hurley” and try to get a baseball-sized ball through the goals of the other team by hitting it with the hurley or hand, rolling it, or briefly carrying it. It’s rather complex but is incredible to watch the skillful players.
After the match, we watched a live Irish music performance while enjoying a few pints. Most of us opted for a Guinness or Beamish, the locally brewed stout.
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