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Youghal Heritage Trail

Explore the fascinating heritage of the walled town of Youghal on the Cork coast.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.9 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  Find out about the rich heritage of the walled town of Youghal that has seen everyone from Cromwell to John Huston pass through it and... more »

Tips:  Cork's coastal weather can be changeable so make sure you bring an umbrella and rain gear. Good comfortable sturdy footwear will serve... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Site and the Exchange

Our tour starts right outside the Visitors' Centre right by the water. Simply turn left and you'll be ready for your first point of interest along the route. Kieran Groeger tells us more about the area on the audio piece.

The first Exchange was constructed in 1672 and was situated just outside the old town wall fronting onto the medieval quays, ... More

2. Water Gate

This Water Gate was built in the 13th Century to provide access through the town walls to the docks. It is still known as Cromwell's Arch, as this is the place from which Oliver Cromwell left Ireland in 1650.

3. Clock Gate

This is the third gate on this site in the town walls and was completed in 1777. The tower was used as the town gaol until the mid-19th century. Prisoners were executed by hanging from the windows.

4. Benedictine Priory

The Benedictine Order was established in Ireland by the 12th Century, and the ‘The Priory' was founded in Youghal in 1350. This building has undergone extensive alterations; however, some original features of the Benedictine Priory of St. John's do remain, including the door arch and small window on the street front.

A pointed-arched sandstone... More

5. The Magazine

According to historical sources, an urban tower house known as the Magazine was situated on the front of the property now located at 54 North Main Street. This building was supposedly occupied by Oliver Cromwell when he wintered his army in the town in 1649-1650. The Magazine was demolished in 1835 as part of construction works for the present... More

6. The Market Place

This point marks the location of the linear Medieval Market Place, which can be seen in the noticeable widening of the street. Market Places were a key part of medieval towns, particularly from the 13th Century onwards, when there was a period of tremendous growth and economic expansion across Europe.

The Red House was built in the early 18th century for the Uniacke family. It is reputed to be the only example of the Dutch or Queen Anne style town house continuing in use as a private dwelling in Ireland. In our audio piece, the present day owner, Helen Keane, tells us a little bit about it.

8. Tynte's Castle

This 15th century Norman tower was used by a local merchant family as a house and as a store for valuable goods. It is unusual to have such a fortified dwelling built inside the town walls. Sir Robert Tynte owned the tower in the early 17th century – he married the widow of the poet Edmund Spenser.

9. Boyle's Almhouse

These houses were built in 1610 by Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, for six old soldiers. The soldiers received a pension of £5 per annum. Some of the houses were altered in the mid-19th century.

10. Myrtle Grove

This attractive house was the home of Sir Walter Raleigh when he was resident in Youghal. It was purchased by Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, in 1602.

It is a fine example of a late medieval dwelling. The house lies on substantial ground that straddles both sides of the Town Wall. The external appearance of the building has changed over time ... More

11. St. Mary's Collegiate Church

The church was built in 1220 and extended in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is one of the few parish churches of the period still in use in Ireland. It has a fascinating history which is fully illustrated in the church. (

12. Landward town walls

The first record of the town walls is a charter of 1275, granted by King Edward I, for their repair and extension. The walls surrounded the town on the shoreline as well as inland. Most of the inland portion still survives today. A good vantage point is in the grounds of St. Mary's Collegiate Church.

13. The College

The College was founded in 1464 by Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Desmond. It was referred to as the University Of The City Of Youghal in a letter from Pope Innocent VIII in 1492. It ceased to function in the late 16th century and very little of the original building remains today.

14. College Gardens

Upon buying the College from Sir Walter Raleigh for £1500 in 1602, Sir Richard Boyle set about converting it into his residence and adding the five circular turrets. He walled the gardens in 1641 which are still used by the people of the town to celebrate its medieval history.

The garden serves as a resplendent setting for the town to recreate... More

15. Quaker Meeting House and Burial Ground

Stroll up the gentle brae of Emmet Place to get to our next point of interest, being the Quaker Meting House on your right. According to historical sources, the Quakers built a meeting house in Youghal in 1681 with a graveyard to the south of the building. The present building is the combination of 19th and 20th Century alterations and... More

16. St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Catholic Church was built in 1796. During this period a Catholic Church could not be constructed on the main thoroughfare or on prominent sites. It is for this reason that St. Mary's was located at its present site on Ashe Street (formerly Beau or Bow Street).

17. The Mall House

Youghal's Town Hall, Mall House, and the fashionable 140-yard long tree-lined promenade were created on Parliament Quay in 1772-1779. The building stands on land that was reclaimed from the river in the 18th Century.