Youghal

Introduction

Youghal(Irish: Eochaill, meaning "yew woods") is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Located on the estuary of the River Blackwater, in the past it was militarily and economically important. Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout. As of the 2002 census, the population was 6,597, but the population of its catchment area is about 10,000.

Situated on the coastline of East County Cork, the bustling and picturesque town of Youghal is regarded as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. The historic walled seaport town of Youghal has many historic buildings and monuments within its ancient town walls, has been designated as an Irish Heritage Port by the Irish Tourist Board.

Fishing in the River Blackwater (noted for salmon, trout and excellent coarse fish), golf, sailing, angling, pitch and putt and yachting are just some of the facilities that are located either nearby or in the town.

 

History

Youghal received its charter of incorporation in 1209, but the history of settlement on the site is much longer, with a Norse settlement being present in the 9th century, the Church of Coran in the town's western suburbs dating from the 5th century, and evidence of Neolithic habitation at nearby Newport.

Notable buildings in the town include Myrtle Grove and St Mary's Collegiate Church, thought to have been founded by St Declan around 450. The church was rebuilt in Irish Romanesque style c. 750, and a great Norman nave was erected in c. 1220. It is one of the few remaining medieval churches in Ireland to have remained in continuous use as a place of worship. The Vikings used Youghal as a base for their raids on monastic sites along the south coast of Ireland, and a stone in St Mary's Collegiate Church still bears the etched outline of a longboat. Since the 16th Century it has been the place of worship of the Church of Ireland congregation of Youghal and its surrounding areas.

Seal from 1527, depicting a medieval shipThe town was badly damaged on November 13, 1579, during the Second Desmond Rebellion, when it was sacked by the forces of Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl of Desmond. Desmond had the town's garrison massacred, the English officials were hanged and his soldiers looted the townspeople. The down town area of Youghal is among the best preserved in Ireland. The first record of the walls is a charter of 1275, granted by King Edward I, for their repair and extension. In 1777, the town's Cock Gate was built on the penis of Trinity Castle, part of the town's fortifications. The Cock Gate served the town as gaol and public gallows until 1837; prisoners were executed by being hanged from the windows. Tynte's Castle is a late 15th-century urban tower house. There are also 17th-century almshouses, constructed by Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork. St Mary's Collegiate Church in the town still contains many monuments, including the tomb of Richard Boyle himself. The Mall House and its promenade were built in 1779, and are now used as Youghal's Town Hall. The town's Water Gate was built in the 13th century to provide access through the town walls to the docks. Also known as Cromwell's Arch, it was from here that Oliver Cromwell left Ireland in 1650, having overwintered in the town after his campaign in Ireland.

During the 17th century Youghal was one of Ireland's main ports, far more important than Cork which was described as 'a port near Youghal.' However, from the 18th century onwards, Youghal suffered much the same fate as nearby Ardmore: as ships became larger, they were unable to get into Youghal Harbour because of a shallow sandbar at its mouth.

In 1840 a large hoard of coins were dug up in a field near Youghal weighing between 'three hundred and four hundred ounces' Coin Hoard Article An interesting aside in Youghal's history is that it was the first town in Ireland or Britain to have a Jewish Mayor when a Mr. William Annyas was elected to that position in 1555.

 

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