Tour Guide at Youghal's Clock Gate, Dorothy Heaphy, became the eyes of Glynn Langston, blind since birth, when he visited the famous landmark in Youghal last week. Glynn spends 5/6 months of the year in his home in Youghal, and resides in the USA with his wife Ann and two adult children, who were born in Ireland.
Arriving in Youghal this summer Glynn heard that the Clock Gate had been newly opened as a tourist attraction. Longing to 'see' it, Glynn feared he wouldn’t be able to visit and experience it, but his fears disappeared when he spoke with local tour guide, Dorothy Heaphy who, having experience on guiding the poorly sighted or blind, immediately offered to facilitate a special tour to accommodate him. "I was determined that Glynn would get the most from his visit to the tower", Dorothy told The East Cork Journal, “and I knew that he would experience many firsts here and have the ultimate experience.
She went on to explain that The Clock Tower Experience covers hundreds of years of history and is particularly suited if you are sight impaired, because the story is told to you by the Guide."Glynn is blind", she said "but, like many blind people he is otherwise able bodied and needs just a little help to walk up steps, stairs" etc. Dorothy, however, went the extra mile for Glynn and compiled a small Lego model of the iconic building, which outlined the walls, Towers, the Clock Gate itself and Youghal's Main Street. "Then", she explained "using a juice carton I made a mini Clock Gate so that, not being able to see, Glynn would have an image of the shape of the tower, the number of floors, roof and cupola etc. It was simple", said Dorothy, “but it all worked brilliantly!!
Glynn, who speaks several languages, lectures on different topics all over the world. He will burst into song at the drop of a hat, plays the piano accordion, knows most of the old Irish songs and has a thirst for facts, history, travel and all things Irish. Taught to type as a child by his mother, he writes articles for different associations who cater for the Blind and is a frequent visitor on radio interviews in Ireland and the USA.
His tour of Youghal Clock Gate, 'seeing' it through the eyes of Dorothy Heaphy, stopping to touch and experience each floor at his own pace, will rank among his best memories for many years to come.
Tours are on the hour and take approximately 50 minutes, finishing with a visit to the rooftop and a panoramic view of the town.