Tourist Information Office Market Square Youghal Cork Republic of Ireland
About this listing
Though its name derives from ‘Eochaill’, meaning Yew Wood in Irish, Youghal is very much an Anglo -Norman town. Its lands were granted by Henry II to Robert Fitzstephen in 1177 and its wonderful 13th Century walls are amongst the best preserved in Ireland. The walls, most intact on the landward side of town, are the focus of one of Youghal’s heritage trails, the 2 kilometres Town Wall Walk. This trail also covers the walled Base Town, a 15th Century extension tacked onto the Main Town to protect a new harbour. It’s small, but perfectly formed.
Youghal’s best known landmark is also a feature of the old town, its Clock Gate Tower. The tower once separated the Main and Base towns and though the current structure dates from 1777, it was formerly fortified with towers and a portcullis. The Water Gate is a similar highlight.
Other heritage trails in Youghal include a Historic Core Walk (3 kilometres), a Graveyard Trail (1.5 kilometres) and a Medieval Garden Walk (1.5 kilometres). The Historic Core Walk knits itself through 13th and 16th Century buildings including Tynte’s Castle, a tower house named for a former Sheriff of Cork.
The most famous name associated with Youghal is Sir Walter Raleigh. He became mayor of the town after helping to suppress rebellion during the plantation of Munster. Raleigh’s gabled home, Myrtle Grove, remains in great shape as a private residence and legend has it that Ireland’s first potatoes were planted here (Raleigh may have smoked its first tobacco here, too).
Other heritage treats include the Medieval Church of St. Mary (the largest of its kind in Ireland), the walled college gardens and Youghal’s fine Georgian and Victorian streetscape. The town doubled as New Bedford in John Huston’s film version of Moby Dick (1956), starring Gregory Peck.
Today, Youghal wins hearts as both a seaside resort and heritage town, with two Blue Flag beaches and the River Blackwater offering a host of aquatic adventures and seaside treats nearby.