The American Pier in Cobh, Co Cork, which has deteriorated over the past 50 years, is the last physical publicly accessible reminder of the US Navy's presence in Cork Harbour. 

The American Pier Cobh Project, formally launched on Friday, July 22 at the Sirius Arts Centre Cobh, is being driven by a group of residents from Whitepoint in association with Cobh Tidy Towns and other community groups who commissioned a consultant’s report on the repair of the Pier.

Organizers said: "Cobh in Co Cork is one of Ireland's most beautiful and historic seaside towns.

"Tucked away at the end of Whitepoint Strand on a quiet edge of Cobh, the remains of a pier can be seen running into the deep water of the mighty River Lee as it splits around Haulbowline Island.

"These tumbled remains are known locally as the 'American Pier', they are all that is left of a pier that was built during the First World War to service Field Hospital No.4 of the United States of America.

One hundred years ago today, six US Naval Destroyers arrived in Cork Harbour, under the command of Commander J.K....

Posted by American Pier Cobh on Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"Along this pier were carried the wounded of the Great War, those brave men, and women who went to fight in the fields and trenches of Europe. The Hospital, which consisted entirely of portable buildings shipped across the Atlantic from the United States, began construction in May 1918 and began to receive patients on the 11th of October 1918.

"These vital life-saving buildings are long gone, however, a tangible link to this historic site still remains. It has held out against the powerful current for over a hundred years, yet it is approaching its utter ruin unless it can be saved."

The committee says it is determined to save American Pier "for our community and for our young generation so they can grow up as many of us did, remembering its history, enjoying summer days on it, and as a focal point for the many visitors who join us here each year in Cobh."

The American Pier in Cobh, Co Cork. (Cobh Photos / Handout)

The American Pier in Cobh, Co Cork. (Cobh Photos / Handout)

The pier, which over the last 50 years has deteriorated into a very poor condition, requires immediate attention, organizers say. The report by Southgate Associates, Heritage Conservation Specialists, outlines three possible repair options, with the most sympathetic estimated to cost €110,000.

To fund the project, the committee has set up a GoFundMe page with a €120,000 goal, raising over €6,275 to date. 

The American Pier Cobh Project Group made up of Residents of Whitepoint in association with Cobh Tidy Towns and other...

Posted by American Pier Cobh on Friday, July 22, 2022

On May 7, 1917, a flotilla of American destroyers arrived in Cobh - then known as Queenstown - to assist the British Navy against German U-boats in the North Sea. 

A small naval dockyard on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour was not able to cope with the arrival of new and bigger ships, while an infirmary built on the island soon become overwhelmed by a mixture of British and American soldiers. 

To combat this, the American armed forces built a new medical facility outside Cobh in an area called Whitepoint and extended the pier to be able to cater to US ships. 

While the medical facility and adjoining radio and recreational facilities were disassembled and shipped back to the US following the end of the First World War, the American Pier remained as a lasting reminder of the American presence in Cobh during the conflict. 

For more information, see the Save American Pier campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and GoFundMe.

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*Originally published in July 2022. Updated in December 2022.