Youghal Lighthouse.

Youghal could soon become a popular haven for yacht enthusiasts to rival Kinsale, as Cork County Council sets its eyes on waterfront renovations.
With the majority of its sewer upgrades complete, visitor mooring in full swing and pontoon set to be in place within weeks, Cork county Council officials are now turning their attention to the renovation of Youghal’s lighthouse.
Monday’s Southern Committee in Cork County Hall heard that the new €150,000 pontoon could be in place as early as next month.
“Pontoon fabrication is underway with pilling due to commence this week, with a completion date estimated within weeks” Council officials told the sitting.
Youghal has always been a port with a proud maritime heritage, however the facilities for boating in the harbour town, have not kept pace with the times. Since the 1970’s there has been a great burst in leisure boating right across Ireland, but not in Youghal.
However that’s all about to change.
Councillor Mary Linehan Foley who has welcomed the news said that the investment in Youghal’s maritime infrastructure coupled with its plans for the lighthouse should deliver multiple socioeconomic benefits to the local authority.
“It should enhance the tourism product, and increase rates income from new businesses” she said.
The Independent Councillor added the town’s Lighthouse has huge tourism potential suggesting it could be incorporated into a heritage walk.
“Youghal Lighthouse has weathered the test of time and with thanks to this investment by the Department of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht under the Town and village Renewal Scheme, it will ensure this beacon will stand tall for future generations.”
In 2014 Irish Lights transferred ownership of its lighthouse to the Youghal Town Council as the borough had a legal obligation to maintain the structure, being a harbour authority.
Probably one of the best spots to take in the views of Youghal bay, the lighthouse has been identified as an area to hold picnics while taking in panoramic views of the harbour.
Municipal officer Helen Mulcahy and her team who were instrumental in securing the funding said “the proposal seeks to open Youghal Lighthouse as a unique amenity and attraction which will add to the suite of visitor experiences already on offer within the town of Youghal.”
Initially the local authority are seeking to create a development plan for the site which will require archeologically, architectural expertise as well as an interpretation plan for the Lighthouse.
Councillor Linehan Foley said “In the short term the strategy is to open up the area around the lighthouse to the public where people could walk around it. The programme of work will also include the upgrade of the existing fencing to preserve the privacy of the adjacent lighthouse keeper’s cottage that is at present in private ownership.”
It’s understood the Municipal District are also exploring the potential for a viewing balcony to the front of the lighthouse which will allow for panoramic views of Youghal harbour.
Steeped in history the area was the site of a Franciscan Nunnery. These nuns were responsible for maintaining the light beacon in the 13th century.
The exact year of when the first Franciscans came to Youghal, is uncertain and some sources cite 1224, and others 1226. Either way both dates are close to the lifetime of St. Francis of Assisi.
The current lighthouse was built in 1850 and is constructed of granite.

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