End in Sight for Titanic’s “Heartbreak Pier” Restoration in Cobh
By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
April / May 2018
The final phase of renovations of the pier from which the Titanic launched its fateful maiden voyage began in January, with plans for completion in March 2019. This portion of the project is hoped to establish the long-abandoned structure as an attractive tourist destination. With the support of the Cork County Council and Port of Cork, Titanic Experience Ltd., which devotes itself to the preservation and restoration of sites associated with the “unsinkable ship,” purchased the 150-year-old dock in 2015 and set to work on basic repairs to stabilize the structure and prevent it from crumbling into the ocean.
Though the Titanic may be the most famous ship to leave Cobh, the pier has long been known as the “Heartbreak Pier” for its significance as the last glimpse many emigrant Irish would likely have of their homeland, dating in its use back to the mid-19th century.
“We are developing a theme of ‘Last Step, First Step,’ which represents emigrants’ emotional last footsteps on Irish land before their exciting first steps in lands new,” Titanic Experience managing director Gillen Joyce said in a statement. The ultimate goal for the site is to preserve as much of the original workmanship as possible, with the addition of a walkway designed to coordinate aesthetically with the pier and optimize visitors’ visibility. ♦