As Cunard announces the cancellation of two liners, Newsbeat asks what the future holds for Cobh Harbour?

A liner visit to Cobh means welcome money for many with as many as five hundred tourists starting a trip around Ireland. However, the future of "wine and roses" may be coming to an end as Cunard Lines are selling the Sylvania and Carinthia liners. This will cut Cobh's liner traffic by half and could signify the end of it as a local port. 

A liner calls and a sea town prospers.  Cobh in the mouth of Cork Harbour has been living off them for centuries.

Bill O'Herlihy speaks to some of the locals concerned about this loss to the community and the economy, who are looking for ways to encourage other liners to come to Cobh.  This, according to locals, will require some investment in the harbour to make it more attractive to visitors. 

Cobh has been a transatlantic liner port for centuries. From the clippers to the steamers, it's grown and prospered. It's geared for ships and it's only on the quiet of the off-season that Cobh's dependence on liners shows.

Despite the advantage of its natural harbour, Cobh's shipping potential hasn't been developed and the port has been subject to a lack of planning.  

The Cunard decision to sell part of their fleet means the cancellation of twenty-five of next year's thirty-six Cunard calls. Ten of the remainder will be made by the Queen Elizabeth and she goes out of service in less than two years. What happens then is anyone's guess.


Cobh will retain its Holland American Service constituting thirty calls over twelve months.  However, the United States lines has reduced its calls to just four contributing to a gloomy future for transatlantic travel to Cobh. 


For baggage man Gerry Sharkey Griffin, the future is not bright. Mr Griffin says that the only hope for the future of the harbour lies with the transatlantic hovercraft and the development of the harbour to make it a more attractive prospect for ships.  

Our only hope now is the hovercraft.

This episode of 'Newsbeat' was broadcast on 6 November 1967. The reporter is Bill O'Herlihy.

'Newsbeat' was a half-hour feature programme presented by Frank Hall and ran for 7 years from September 1964 to June 1971. 'Newsbeat' went out from Monday to Friday on RTÉ television and reported on current affairs and issues of local interest from around Ireland. The final programme was broadcast on the 11 June 1971.