An Embarkation Pontoon and Access Ramp were erected at Youghal's Nealon Quay last week, much to the delight of locals. Youghal Maritime Development Group, the organisation behind the ‘Build A Marina in Youghal’ campaign on Facebook, have been diligently researching and making presentations to all who would listen, about the hugely beneficial prospects which a Marina would bring to Youghal. Speaking with the East Cork Journal Martin Finn, spokesman for the group, welcomed the quayside addition as a necessary and long overdue amenity for sea faring visitors, which complement the moorings installed last year. “It’s part of a six-phased plan for the Port of Youghal which we have been promoting” said Martin. “We need to make use of Youghal's crown jewel which, we feel, has been neglected for decades".
The ultimate aim for this 6 -phased plan for maritime infrastructure is the construction of a Marina. Stage one saw the installation of sea moorings last year, and now phase 2 is completed with the construction of the Embarkation Pontoon and Ramp. Together, they will be a great boost to the town's tourism initiatives. Martin Finn said that, in the research undertaken for this project, they discovered the benefits which a Marina will bring. “For every €1 spent in a Marina in Youghal, €13 will be spent in the town. This project is all about potential jobs for Youghal and a brighter future for the town. Our Port has such potential as a valuable tourist resource". He also told how, within 20 minutes of the sea moorings being installed last year, a vessel- a €1 million yacht no less- pulled up to use them!
Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley and Martin Finn have complimented David Stanton TD on all his hard work in helping secure this much needed facility in the beautiful Harbour on the mouth of the River Blackwater. Youghal is the only port in East Cork, and all efforts to improve accessibility for maritime visitors should be welcomed with enthusiasm.
Martin went on to stress how essential it is that Youghal is assigned a Harbour Master to oversee the running of the Moorings, the Pontoon and the Harbour. Cork County Council advertised for the position in January. Speaking with the East Cork Journal this week, the Council confirmed that "11 applications were received for the position. The interviews are currently being organised and it is hoped to hold them on May 24, 2018, subject to the availability of the interview board members. As soon as the interviews take place an offer will be made, the successful candidate will be processed, and a start date confirmed."
As one of only 13 Harbours in Ireland, the position of Harbour Master in Youghal is vital to the continued development, running and success of present and future maritime ventures.
In order to achieve exponential growth in Youghal tourism, all available facilities must be put to their best use. In the past, Youghal Port was such a successful and popular place that Cork City was described in correspondence of the time as 'a port near Youghal'.
Today, there are stops dotted almost every ten miles along the coast as you sail west out of Cork Harbour (Kinsale, Clonakilty, Bantry, Baltimore). If you are to sail East, however, the first place you could stop is Dunmore East! "Youghal", said Martin, "is perfectly positioned for sailing from Cork or from the UK. We also have access to the River Blackwater, as yet an undiscovered gem".
Could this maritime opportunity give Youghal a rich future to rival it's rich, sea-faring past? It is now time again to recognise and realise the full potential of the Port and, in turn, the full potential of Youghal.