Youghaloween Festival Could Scare Up Ireland’s Tourist Numbers

By Seamus Whelehan

Salt for the Secret Circle is brought by Lylah, Dora and Michael.

Failte Ireland are considering the addition of a Halloween type festival to its ‘Irelands Ancient East’ marketing plan.
The follow on from the highly successful ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ Ireland’s Ancient East aims at exploiting the South East’s rich history dating back over 5,000 years.
The tourist body say the addition of a series of Halloween type festival’s like Youghalloween’s spooktacular could have a major economic benefit for the country.
The tradition of Halloween has its roots based in Ireland, in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
Through mass emigration the festival has spread internationally.
The domestic market is said to contribute over €10million in retail sales annually as a result of the Halloween season.
44% of international tourists that travel to Ireland fall under the Ancient East brand but when Cork city is stripped out, the region receives only 23% of overseas visitors and 11% of spend.
Now Failte Ireland want to expand their offering to the international tourist while also extending the tourist season.
Adrian Hyde from Youghal4all the group behind the Spooktacular said the news offered further potential for the area.
He said the Youghaloween festival has seen a huge increase in interest over the past seven years.
Up to 10,000 come to the seaside town annually from as far away as the United States and the United Kingdom, including Scotland and Wales.
Mr Hyde added the economic benefit to the area was “unquantifiable”, with bars, restaurants and chippers all reporting brisk business throughout the three day event.
Laoise Donnelly, stakeholder communications, for Failte Ireland said “with Halloween deeply rooted in Irish folklore there is a significant opportunity to claim authentic ownership.”
She said once the boards scoping exercise had been completed local authorities and tourist related bodies will be consulted with to develop the initiative further.
Independent Cllr Mary Linehan Foley welcomed the news.
She said “Youghal as a heritage town is already included in Ireland’s Ancient East, the possibility of Youghalaween Spooktacular being added to this marketing programme can only be a positive for the area.”
The Youghal based Cllr said the town’s little known fact, of being home to Ireland’s last witch, to go on trial could be looked at by a twinning arrangement with Salem in Massachusetts.
It’s something Youghal4All would not rule out. Mr Hyde said with the assistance of the local authority the opportunity is there to establish a year round tourist plan similar to Salem.
In a late 17th century in a fit of hysteria the townsfolk pointed the finger of suspicion at Florence Newton a supposed witch.
Known as the "Witch of Youghal" she went on trial in 1661. The case against her is described as one of the most important examples of Irish witch trials, similar to witch trials in England, and the "most known of 17th-century witch trials in Ireland."
Florence Newton was arrested and imprisoned 24 March 1661. She was put on trial 11 September 1661 and accused of having "enchanted" Mary Longdon and employing sorcery to cause the death of David Jones.
According to accounts of her trial, in Christmas of 1660, Newton was heard to mumble curses after she was denied a piece of beef at the house of John Pyne. Afterward, she met an employee of Pyne named Mary Longdon on the street and "violently" kissed her. Longdon then became sick, and experienced fits, cramps, and visions. Sorcery was suspected, and a coven of witches were claimed to exist in the area. Longdon claimed that Newton was responsible for her illness.
Newton was also accused of causing the death of David Jones by sorcery. At Newton's trial, the widow of Jones said that Newton had kissed the hand of Jones though the bars of a prison gate, and afterward, he had become sick and died after having screamed the name of Newton on his death bed.