Youghal's Heritage

Click here to download a brochure on Youghal's Historical Walking Tours

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.

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For information on tourist trails please contact the local tourist office

Tourist Information Office
Market Square
Republic of Ireland
+353 24 20170

Youghal 's Rich History

Viking Settlement

Ireland was subject to Viking raids from the end of the 8th century and the Youghal area was no exception. It is likely that the Vikings established a settlement at Youghal during the 9th century.

Medieval Youghal

The newly arrived Normans divided up the territory which they had brought under their control. The area around Youghal was granted by King Henry II to Robert Fitzstephen in 1177 who in 1215 passed it on to his half brother, Maurice Fitzgerald, ancestor of the Earls of Desmond.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the most dynamic and colourful characters of the Elizabethan period. Born in Devon c. 1552, he took part in military campaigns in France and Ireland and organised expeditions to America. By the late 1580s Raleigh was a favourite at the court of Queen Elizabeth and was knighted in 1584.

Richard Boyle, First Earl of Cork

Sir Walter Raleigh's estates in Ireland were purchased by Richard Boyle, one of the most successful men of his period. Born in Canterbury in 1566, he arrived in Ireland in 1588 with very few possessions, but with great ambitions.

Youghal at War & Oliver Cromwell

1640'sThe English Civil War provided opportunity for rebellion in Ireland. The risings of 1641 led Richard Boyle to garrison Youghal this poor weak town, where the Irish are three to one of the English, and if this town should be lost, all the hope and retreat of the English in the Province is gone. (Annals of Youghal) Although an Irish Battery of three guns at Ferrypoint threatened the town in 1642, it did not prevent English reinforcements landing at the port. As warfare continued in the country, Youghal became an important base for the English.

18th Century Youghal

Youghal emerged from the turbulent years of the 17th century into a period of growth during the 18th century. The busy town, with its extensive trade with ports all over Europe, needed improved facilities. Throughout the 18th century Youghal expanded along the river front with extensive land being reclaimed and quays and warehouses built by the town's merchants and the corporation.

Victorian Youghal

The prosperous years of the 18th century were followed by more mixed fortunes during the Victorian era. The town's trade began to falter in the face of altered markets and new legislation. Increased competition in grain exports affected that trade, especially after the 1846 repeal of the Corn Laws. Youghal's wool industry also went through difficult times after the removal of protection for woolen manufacture. The transfer of the military garrison to Fermoy was a significant economic loss to the town.


Shipping and Fishing

Ships have always been important in Youghal. The significance of the town as a port has meant that it has relied on the sea for trade, defence and as a means of earning a living. Youghal was one of the busiest medieval ports in the south of Ireland and continued to be important until the 19th century. At the end of the 17th century Youghal had 33 registered vessels, while its main rivals of Cork and Kinsale had 24 and 22 ships respectively.

Youghal at Work

Youghal's local industries have always made the town more than just a busy port and a centre for tourism. Iron smelting, woollen manufacture, silver production, lacemaking, brickmaking, pottery, and carpet manufacture are just some of these industries over the centuries. Lacemaking, brickmaking and pottery were particularly important in the 19th century, while carpet manufacture was synonymous with Youghal in the mid-20th century.

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