Youghal, which sits majestically on the estuary of the River Blackwater, is located in County Cork. The enthralling beauty of the town can largely be attributed to its distinctive long and narrow layout, which is bestowed by its presence on the edge of a steep riverbank. Name of the town is derived from the Irish word ‘Eochaill’ meaning ‘yew woods’, which once grew in plenty within the region. The bustling and picturesque town of Youghal has been designated as an Irish Heritage Port by the Irish Tourist Board, due to the presence of many historic buildings and monuments within its walls.
The historic walled seaport town of Youghal was foremost inhabited by a Norse settlement in the 9th century. However, the town is also home to the Church of Coran, which dates from the 5th century. The town is also blessed with one of the few remaining mediaeval churches in Ireland to have remained in continuous use as a place of worship.
St Mary’s Collegiate Church, founded by St Declan around 450 BC, was rebuilt in Irish Romanesque style in 750 BC. Settlers from Britain started to arrive to the town post the granting of a charter of incorporation in the early years of the 13th century. This settlement prospered under the aegis of town walls, with 12 towers. The town was designated as one of the Irish ‘cinque ports’ in 1462. During the mediaeval period, the town was granted with special trading privileges.
Records point to foremost fortifications in the town in 1777. During this period, Cock Gate was built in the town, which served as gaol and public gallows until 1837. The town is also home to the majestic Tynte’s Castle, a 15th-century urban tower house. Youghal served as a main port of Ireland during the 17th century. The town began to prosper and expand along the river front, with extensive land being reclaimed and quays and warehouses built by the town’s merchants. Development of cosmopolitan air of the town can be attributed to the long established trading links with the other port cities. Economic and social life of the town got a boost from the prosperous trade and manufacturing conditions.
Today, Youghal, lying on the coastline of East County Cork, is deemed as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. The mesmerising town boasts secluded cove, safe sandy beach and breathtaking wide open strand with miles of blue flag beach. Apart from a popular seaside resort, the town is also reckoned for its historic buildings and natural surroundings. Seaside location of the town makes it an ideal destination for deep sea angling and shore angling. The unspoilt and solitary beaches of the town are suitable for family outings, picnics and walks.
Being a sea fishing paradise, Youghal bay beckons both foreigners and locals alike. Water sports, comprising wind surfing and sailing, is a highlight of Youghal. Recognised as south coast’s most popular resort, Youghal offers a range of activities, including power boating, dinghy racing, yacht cruising, whale watching and wreck diving. The geographical positioning of Youghal makes it a perfect base to view the amalgamation of the beauty of East Cork with the stunning enchantment of West Waterford.
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