A CORK woman has realised her dream of stepping onboard the QE2 with a special souvenir to reiterate the ship’s links to Cork.
Victoria Piper still fondly recalls asking a teacher at her former secondary school Coláiste Muire in Crosshaven to excuse her from class so she could photograph the vessel from the school yard.
That was back in 2008 when the Port of Cork welcomed the world’s most famous cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, as part of her farewell voyage.
The QE2 was tied up at the Deepwater Quay in Cobh before departing for Liverpool. Edinburgh and Newcastle were also included in the itinerary before the vessel’s eventual return to Southampton. It has since been repurposed as a floating hotel in Dubai.
Victoria was recently photographed on board with a Port of Cork souvenir she received in 2008 to commemorate the ship’s visit to Cobh.
“I had always had a fascination with the QE2 and my teacher at the time was really good to let me out of class to photograph it as our school was overlooking the harbour,” she said.
“When the ship came in, they were giving out Port of Cork handkerchiefs on the quayside so people could have them as souvenirs. My aunt picked one up for me because she knew how much it would mean to me. I’ve held on to it ever since.”
The photograph Victoria captured has taken pride of place on the wall of the family’s sitting room ever since.
“I happened to have computer studies at school that day, so I emailed the picture to my uncle Kevin who sadly has passed away since. He had the picture blown up and framed for me. He even added a picture by-line to it with my name which was a real novelty at the time. He and my aunt Marie called to my house on my birthday a few days later and gave it to me as a gift.”
Victoria, who hails from Crosshaven was delighted to fulfil her dream of enjoying afternoon tea on the ship while holidaying in Dubai.
“I got to see every part of the ship thanks to the tour guide,” she said.
“I’ll never forget how beautiful and elegant the ship looked after seeing it from my school and I am glad to have experienced the opportunity to finally step inside.”
She explained what attracted her to the former cruise ship.
“It’s a different way of life and a different way of cruising that has always been very attractive to me. Back then, it was men in tuxes every evening and women in ballgowns. It just seemed like a lovely place to be.”
Victoria is glad she has held on to the Port of Cork souvenir years after that memorable day. “I always held on to the handkerchief. If you have something you treasure you will never lose it.”
The Queen Elizabeth II was launched in Clydebank from the yard of John Brown on September 20, 1967, and began her official maiden voyage to New York in May 1969. It is known as the world’s most famous ocean liner. In 2008 it had already clocked up more than 5.6 million nautical miles before it became a hotel.