The Emerald Isle

are of the sea and of seabirds stalking the foreshore or wheeling in the sky above. Maritime history and the pleasures of yachting come together in many small ports all along Cork’s coast, notably at places like Youghal, Cobh, and Kinsale. Cobh, Cork city’s port, was once an important stopping- off place on the transatlantic shipping run and was for thousands of Irish emigrants to North America and Australia their last sight of their homeland. The Sirius , making the first steamer crossing of the Atlantic, began her epic trip from Cobh, and the ill-fated Titantic called here in 1912. In contrast, Cobh can also boast of once possessing the world’s oldest yacht club, the Royal Cork, founded in 1720. Kinsale is a characterful town with a colorful history, which includes the Battle of Kinsale in 1601, in which O’Donnell and O’Neill chieftains, aided by a Spanish force, made a last stand against English rule, only to be defeated. Kinsale is another sailing haven on the south coast to have experienced a tourist boom in recent years and its annual regatta is an important event in the social calendar of 194 The Southwest