Cobh bids final farewell to 'QE2'


THOUSANDS BRAVED some squally showers and icy winds to journey to Cobh yesterday evening to bid adieu to the QE2as it departed Cork Harbour for the last time to become a luxury floating hotel in the much warmer climes of the Middle East.

The visit by the world's most famous cruise liner led to much nostalgia in Cobh. Port of Cork commercial manager, Capt Michael McCarthy explained the great affection for Cunard in Cobh. Cunard's ships began calling there over a century ago to collect departing emigrants. The company's ships also delivered the emigrants' letters home, he said.

"The visit of the QE2here has been hugely nostalgic for Cobh - Cunard has links here going back to the 1890s and all the company's great ships would have come here at some stage or other over the years - it really does recall the glory days of transatlantic liners," he explained.

Members of Cobh Tourism sold souvenir white hankerchiefs to the thousands who came to the quayside so that they could wave goodbye to the QE2.

Among those who took to the waves to say goodbye was Cobh resident Paul St Leger, who admitted to feeling emotional as the QE2headed out.

"She holds great memories for me - I worked on board as a chef from 1995 to 1999 and it was there that I met my wife, Fionnuala, and it was up there on the bridge on the stroke of midnight 1997/1998 that we got engaged between St Thomas and Barbados," he said.

"When the sun shone on her yesterday as she was coming in, from up there on the High Road, she looked as good as any of the rest of them - she still has beautiful lines with loads of character, she looked absolutely glorious - she's still a beauty," Mr St Leger said.