A senior delegation from The Department of Arts Heritage & Gaeltacht (DAHG) The Heritage Council of Ireland and Fáilte Ireland visited Youghal on Friday 16th November 2012 as part of the roll-out of the Historic Towns Initiative. Youghal has been chosen along with other historic towns; Listowel and Westport to advance a pilot programme which will see Heritage Towns develop while maximizing their tourism potential.
Hosted by Youghal Town Council, the delegation undertook a walking tour in the morning of the historic core of the town, before meeting with senior officials from Cork County Council to discuss the draft framework document. This framework would see the roll-out of the project over 2013 and beyond which is seen as being essential to sustainable development and to encouraging cultural tourism in historic towns like Youghal.
Speaking at the afternoon session in the Mall Arts Centre, Youghal to a group of assembled community representatives about the project, Martin Colreavy, Principal Advisor, Built Heritage and Architectural Policy (DAHG) spoke in detail about what the project would mean for Youghal and the other two towns in the pilot scheme. “This project ;which is being driven by our Minister, Jimmy Deenihan TD (DAHG) will see a renewal of the existing heritage towns designation, from a tourism approach to towns based on a heritage-led regeneration approach”. Stressing that the success of the initiative would be dependent on Town Councils taking the central leadership role and committing its own resources to the project, Mr. Colreavy complimented Youghal Town Council on its visionary role in heritage-led regeneration to date. “Youghal Town Council is already extremely well advanced in this process, producing its own ‘Heritage-Led Regeneration Strategy’ back in 2005 when the idea was only being advanced in Europe. I know the Minister is determined that this initiative delivers on the ground for each of the pilot towns initially and becomes a true driver of economic growth going forward rather than just being another ‘plan’. Said the Government official.
The delegation and Community Representatives went on to hear from Town Clerk, Liam Ryan and Aileen Murray of The Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group who explained the major issues facing Youghal and set out the current set of structures, plans and strategies which are in place in the town.
The initiative will examine a number of areas in the process including: spatial planning, fiscal incentive – and the creation of specific incentives for heritage towns, funding; looking at alternative mechanisms for financial leverage and construction employment.
The timeline for the execution of the project will see the presentation by the delegation/steering group to the Minister in December of the finalized Historic Towns Initiative toolkit/pack and then to the three pilot towns for initiation over 2013. In early 2013, subject to Ministerial/Departmental agreement on the final details of the scheme, a formal announcement of the Historic Towns Initiative Pilot/Initiation will be made.
WITH CLEAR BLUE SKIES OVERHEAD, the stunning surrounds of St. Mary’s College Gardens was the location for the launch of Youghal’s Annual Medieval Festival, set to take place on Sunday 19th August 2012. Now in its 6th year, the Festival coincides with national celebrations of ‘Irish Walled Towns Day’ and has proven to be an essential date in the calendar of Summer events for a free family day out.
Set within the environs of Youghal’s 13th century medieval town walls, in St. Mary’s College Gardens, this year’s programme promises a range of new attractions to discover and enjoy. Many of the much-loved events featured in previous years, such as medieval re-enactments by the ‘Free-lance Knights of Redemption’ will also be on hand to welcome the thousands of visitors.
Newly planned for 2012 is the incredibly exciting spectacle of ‘Animal Magic’ from Limerick, bringing along a stunning display of hawks, falcons and owls giving spectators a chance to see birds of prey at close quarters. Also added to this year’s programme is the ‘Horrible Histories Medieval Trail’ which is set to enthrall kids of all ages.
“With great commitment over the past six years, Youghal Heritage has built this event into one of the leading medieval festivals in the country,” noted Catherine Desmond of the organising committee. Bringing Youghal’s unique heritage to life, this festival provides a fantastic array of features that are set to entertain and involve. Whatever age or interest, there is something for everyone – and all completely free of course! Catherine went on to note, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters and sponsors, especially The Heritage Council of Ireland and Youghal Town Council for their continued support for our event.”
Over the course of the day, many aspects of medieval life will be displayed for visitors to experience and explore. A medieval cookery display – with a ‘lamb of the spit’, medieval shoe making and coin pressing being some of the other stand-out features. ‘Maid Marion’s food and craft fair is always a firm favourite with this year seeing in excess of 30 stall holders taking their place at the event. The ‘kids kingdom’ line-up will see the return of two magnificent bouncy castles and medieval cube challenge, along with the wonderfully enthralling ‘beatz’ drumming workshop. Old favourites such as face painting, balloon modelling and a large area dedicated to arts and crafts are sure to delight.
So whether it’s falconry, medieval cookery, battle re-enactments, or simply a spot of shopping, re-discover Youghal’s unique history and heritage at this year’s Medieval Festival!
YOUGHAL’S MUNICIPAL HERITAGE COMMITTEE has received €60,000 from the Heritage Council of Ireland towards further restoration work on the Town Walls. The figure represents 90% of the total budget allocated nationally for 2011. The information was contained in a Municipal Heritage Policy report by Cllr Liam Burke to Youghal Town Council’s September meeting. He said the money will be used on projects to remove vegetation from the walls as well as cleaning, repointing, strengthening and other repair work on the section of walls between the Jail Steps and Sarsfield’s Terrace. A contractor has been selected and the work “should commence immediately and be completed by the end of the year,” he added.
Other items contained in the report included:
Youghal Town Council’s Public Realm Plan: The latest phase has been completed, at Emmet Place. Together with finished works at Church Street the project is deemed to “represent a considerable enhancement to the most important heritage area of the town.”
Graveyard Wall: A collapsed area between St. Mary’s Collegiate Church and St. Mary’s College Gardens has been repaired and new railings have been installed, “resulting in considerable visual improvement.”
Following the KPMG Feasibility Study and Conservation Report, this year has seen the completion of a subsequent Business Plan. The building has been leased to the Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group which is now in a position to seek SECAD funding for necessary works. “The restoration of the Clock Gate and its re-opening to the public is considered an immensely important policy objective of Youghal Town Council,” says the report, “and a successful funding application would bring it closer to reality in the not too distant future.”
The 2011 Medieval Day, in reasonably good weather, was deemed exceptionally successful and attracted an estimated 6,000 visitors throughout the day. This would “probably represent the highest attendance” for any such event by participating towns in Ireland. Local traders sponsored raffle prizes, for which their generosity and support are very much appreciated. The committee members are thanked, including Mayor Eoin Coyne and Cllrs Mary Linehan-Foley and Barbara Murray. Gratitude is also extended to all others who assisted in organising the event, participant stall holders, others who helped on the day (including the Youghal Concerned Citizens group) and the media for their interest and promotion.
On Sunday last 22nd August 2010, visitors flocked in their thousands to the stunning surroundings of St. Mary’s College Gardens in Youghal for the 4th Annual Youghal Medieval Festival. Events were planned to coincide with The Irish Walled Towns Network celebrations of National Heritage Week.
Photo: Michael Hussey www.youghalonline.com| Email: email@example.com
Official figures on the day saw in excess of 8,000 people visit the free annual event over the course of the day, a record number for the event. The glorious sunshine made the inclement weather of the event in 2009 a distant memory!
Celebrations kicked off at 12.00 pm where the ‘Medieval Village’ played host to an abundance of performers, guests and festival goers all of whom came out in support of the event. The renowned ‘Freelance Knights of Redemption’ from Co. Cavan undertook a full fighting and weaponry display while elsewhere in the Medieval encampment visitors were mesmerised by the archery display and huddled around the roasting ‘lamb on the spit’ to observe the wonderful styles of medieval cookery.
This year the ‘Kids Kingdom’ played host to some of the best activities seen at the festival to date. The ‘Mumbo Jumbo Circus Workshop’ was a flurry of excitement and activity as kids of all ages learned how to stilt walk or ride a unicycle. The bouncy castle area was a major attraction as children braved the obstacle course over and over again.
This year the ‘Kids Kingdom’ saw the re-introduction of traditional arts & crafts fun. Speaking on behalf of the organising committee Catherine Desmond said: “Parents were delighted with the concept of ‘back to basics’ fun. Children were able to get involved and create their own Medieval Hats and Shields which they could then wear and bring home as a souvenir. Each year the committee tries to incorporate a good balance of fun, education and heritage into the festival and I think it’s fair to say that we achieved just that. Not only did we organise a ‘FREE FAMILY EVENT’ but we also reopened the historic quarter of Youghal which has seen a huge facelift over the last few years”, commented Catherine.
This year more quality food and craft stalls only added to the electric atmosphere of the gardens in ‘Maid Marion’s Food & Craft Fair’. Traders recreated the colourful atmosphere of a noisy Medieval Marketplace and visitors were given the chance to purchase unique gifts and top quality food produce ranging from homemade ice – cream to wood-fired pizza.
The ‘bandstand area’ featured lively performances from local band ‘Rannach’ followed by local favourites ‘Redmond & John’ culminating with the Youghal Pipe Band. Community Radio Youghal was of course on hand throughout the entire day to report on proceedings throughout the afternoon.
Clodagh Mahon of Youghal Heritage said: “The event was a tremendous success and the support we’ve seen from the business community in the town deserves a huge acknowledgement. We received some fantastic spot prizes for our raffle and I would like to give them a big thank you on behalf of the committee. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our many hard working volunteers who worked tirelessly before, during and after the event. Festivals like these rely heavily on volunteers and it’s great to see such community spirit”.
Youghal Medieval Festival was organised by The Youghal Municipal Heritage Committee and was funded by the Heritage Council of Ireland and Youghal Town Council.
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Key to photographs
91 Youghal Town Cryer Cliff Winser with Noel Curtin and sons Jack and Robbie
105 William and Morgan Joyce with ‘Captain Jack’ Kieran Groeger
107 Paula, TJ and Amy Rusk, Teresa and Sean Slattery with Mayor of Youghal Mary Linehan Foley
110 Ann marie Roe, Patrice Desmond and Stacey O’Leary
112 Carmel Murphy from Limerick
113 Derek Kenefick fundraising for the Haven for Haiti building programme
119 Susan and Shane Morgan with facepainter Clara Foley
120 Tina Molloy with her children enjoying the free festival
122 Rebecca Hanna and Coran McCarthy with doggy Kerry at the Medieval Festival
138 Tilly McCarthy and Patrick Walsh
140 Sean Donovan and Ann Power
159 Michelle Hennessy, Sheila Whyte and Sandra McLellan and child
184 James and Alavoine from Cork
187 Seth Lewis and Viki Nagy
190 Mervyn Scott and Noel Cronin from Youghal local radio CRYIssued by:
Youghal Heritage Committee
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