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Deck of Cards Cobh – How to Get THAT Photo (2024 Guide)!

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Did you want to know how to get THAT Instagram photo of Deck of Cards Cobh? Well, you’re in the right place as I’ve got a complete guide on exactly how to do that below. 

Cobh is a delightful seaport town in County Cork, Ireland that was actually known as Queenstown until around 1920.

It was one of the last port stops of the RMS Titanic and was used as a naval base during the First World War. But, is now a peaceful harbour town with lots of leisure cruises, and attractions.

Many people like to visit Cobh to capture a row of colourful residences known as the ‘Deck of Cards’ with St Colman’s Cathedral in the background. 

But, many people don’t know how to get THAT iconic photo you always see on social media as it’s not the most obvious to find. Especially, if you’re short like me. 

So, I’ll provide some directions below to help you. Here is a guide on how to photograph the famous Deck of Cards Cobh. 

Deck of Cards Cobh Ireland
Deck of Cards Cobh

What is Cobh’s Deck of Cards?

Deck of Cards Cobh is a delightful row of vibrant terraced houses that sits above the town on West View.

The reason why this rainbow row of houses is called a ‘deck of cards’ is the pointed rooftops of these homes. Each one looks like someone has stacked cards into a card house. 

Although you can find colourful houses all over Ireland the reason why this one is so famous is due to the fact that St Colman’s Cathedral sits right behind it. 

This scene attracts many photographers and tourists to Cobh but it can be hard to know where to get the perfect photo.

Deck of Cards Cobh

Where is the Deck of Cards Cobh? 

The Cobh Deck of Cards can be found on 1-23 West View Street in the town and it’s very easy to visit. 

It’s around a 4-minute walk from St Colman’s Cathedral and you can even follow the “Deck of Cards” Houses Google Maps pin to find it.

If you’re driving, I would recommend parking on “Spy Hill” just beside it as there is plenty of off-road parking spaces on this road.

Then, you can capture Deck of Cards Cobh and head to West View Park to enjoy another view of this colourful street. 

West View Cobh IReland

How to visit Cobh’s Deck of Cards

There are many ways that you can visit Deck of Cards Cobh and the obvious one would be to head to 1-23 West View Street itself. 

Whilst you’re here to can down the hill alongside this rainbow row of houses.

There is even a small green called West View Park that makes a great setting for a photo with the ‘deck of cards’ in the backdrop. There’s a bench which makes a good setting for lunch.

Cobh Deck of Cards

There is also a way to see the back of these houses on Cannon O’Leary Place but you’ll be seeing them from the back. They’re still painted but it’s not the best view.

My favourite viewpoint of the Cobh Deck of Cards has to be on Spy Hill but finding this photography location is not the most obvious when you arrive. 

West View Park, Cobh
West View Park, Cobh

How to photograph Cobh’s Deck of Cards and get THAT photo

Okay, so many people see the Deck of Cards Cobh on Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms from one place only. 

That is a location called Spy Hill found above the Deck of Cards. You can get a great photo of the houses from here overlooking the cathedral and ocean.

Here is what it REALLY looks like to capture that famous view (and it’s not what you think). 

Deck of Cards Cobh
Deck of Cards Cobh

1. Visit Spy Hill above West View Park 

So, you can walk to Spy Hill or arrive by car at Spy Hill in Cobh very easily from the cathedral.

If you’re in West View Park already simply walk up the hill and turn left around the corner to arrive on Spy Hill. 

If you’re driving, make sure to follow the Spy Hill Google Map pin to arrive at the location and park where you can find a space. 

West View Park Cobh
West View Park Cobh

2. Peek over the wall 

Once you arrive on Spy Hill, you’re probably wondering where on earth this view is as you can only see one long wall down the entire left-hand side of the street.

Well, THAT photo location can be found OVER the wall. You can easily reach up with your phone or camera and take a photo.

As this wall is so tall and I’m very short, I could barely put my hands over the wall to capture it and couldn’t even see my phone screen half the time. I must have looked ridiculous. 

But, keep trying until you get the photo you want. There are many angles and compositions to try. 

Note: Please do NOT climb on the wall for photos for your safety. It’s dangerous not to mention private property and you can easily get a photo over the wall without climbing on it. 

Spy Hill Cobh
The wall on Spy Hill Cobh

3. Get the perfect Cobh Deck of Cards photo!

So, once you’ve tried a few ways to capture the Deck of Cards Cobh, you should get what you came for.

I waited until the sun completely set in the end and had the most amazing colours in the sky reflected in the Atlantic Ocean.

But, there is SO much more to Cobh than just one photo. So, make sure to leave time to look around. 

Deck of Cards Cobh
THAT famous photo of Deck of Cards Cobh
Deck of Cards Cobh

What does Cobh mean in Irish and what is Cobh famous for? 

Cobh is a ‘Gaelicisation‘ of the original English name ‘Cove’. It has absolutely no meaning in the Irish language! But, it’s an interesting moniker all the same.

However, this small port town has had an interesting history as a port since 1,000 years BC. 

It was originally referred to as Cove Village by the British and they built a fort here in 1743. The Royal Cork Yacht Club was established around this time and is now the oldest in the world. 

Cobh is a major transatlantic Irish port and it was one of the last points of call for the RMS Titanic before it made its fateful voyage over to North America. At this time it was called Queenstown.

Then, it became a Naval Base for the United States Navy during the First World War. After, it went back to its original name of Cove with a Gaelic twist hence Cobh.

You can learn more about the town and its story in more detail at the Cobh Heritage Centre. 

Today, it’s mainly a tourist town and there are lots of things to do in Cobh that make it worth visiting beyond the Deck of Cards houses. 

Deck of Cards Cobh

Amazing things to do in Cobh Ireland 

If you were looking for things to do near the Deck of Cards Cobh, you’ll find many interesting attractions.

First, I would recommend heading into St Colman’s Cathedral. Although there has been a religious site here for some time, this Roman Catholic place of worship was completed in 1919.

If you were interested to learn more history about ‘Cove Village’ then head to the Cobh Heritage Centre or the Queenstown Story.

You also have the Cobh Titanic Experience here and a memorial garden for those that lost their lives on the voyage. 

Many people like to take a ferry over to Spike Island. Spike Island was used as a prison fortress for over 400 years.

It first held Cromwellian prisoners and it was the largest prison in the world in the 19th century!

Spike Island tours include a ferry ticket and a tour of the prison. The island also has lots of nature walks, cafés, and gift shops too. 

Deck of Cards Cobh

Visit the colourful town of Kinsale next

As much as I liked Cobh, if I were to pick between Cobh or Kinsale in Ireland, I would pick Kinsale every time! 

It’s a quaint colourful town in County Cork with SO much to do and I loved every minute there. 

It was far more traditional and prettier than Cobh, in my opinion. Cobh is very industrial and commercial whereas Kinsale is charming and picturesque.

Stone Mad Gallery Kinsale

You’ll find even more colourful houses, a delightful harbour, Charles Fort, sandy beaches, and hidden coves around this area.

It’s also where the famous pirate Anne Bonney was born and they have some amazing pro-woman street art there in her honour. 

You’ll also find a great food scene and plenty of places to have lunch at a café, dinner in a pub, or some fresh Fish ’n’ Chips to take away. 

Anne Bonney Steps Kinsale
“Well behaved women seldom make history” Anne Bonney Steps Kinsale

Where to stay in Cobh 

If you wanted to extend your stay in Cobh, then you can choose from a variety of hotels in this busy port town. Here are some recommendations;

  • Commodore Hotel – stay in one of Ireland’s oldest purpose-built hotels.  

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Save the Deck of Cards Cobh for later! 

How to photograph Deck of Cards Cobh Ireland