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.
A SERIES of newly erected 7 metre ‘maritime themed’ banners on the main Cork to Youghal approach road have been widely welcomed by both locals and visitors to the seaside town. The banners are the latest in a series of marketing initiatives to be rolled out as Youghal continues its re-branding process.
Project managed by The Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group, the banners seek to create impact, and inject colour and vibrancy on the long approach road to the town. Speaking about the project, Town Clerk, Liam Ryan pointed towards the impact the banners set out to achieve. “Youghal Town Council is delighted to finally see the roll-out of these maritime themed banners on the main approach road from Cork into Youghal. Our aim is that Youghal should be recognized as a heritage town of national significance, which also fully exploits and maximizes its unique natural assets. Projects such as this only further enhance our town, and improve the public’s perception of the town.
The Town Clerk continued by commending the partnership approach which led to the roll out of the poles and banners. “This project would not have been possible without the funding, assistance and co-operation of a number of bodies including, Youghal Town Council, Youghal Tidy Towns Committee, South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD), and Cork County Council. In the current climate, this type of approach will only reap rewards for Youghal as the town continues to attract more domestic and overseas visitors” said Mr. Ryan.
The project consists of eight 7 metre cast iron double-sided poles with banners attached. The banners consist of heavy polyester material. Cork based graphic designers ‘Generate Studio’ were commissioned to develop designs taking the themes for which Youghal has become synonymous with as it’s starting point. Youghal’s unique heritage including it’s 13th century town walls, famous characters including Sir Walter Raleigh, it’s fresh seafood, and the miles of beach were the basis for the designs. Added to these themes were banners signifying two of Youghal’s most successful attractions, Perks Entertainment Centre and Aura Youghal Leisure Centre.
The maritime themed banners come at a time when Youghal was once again rewarded for it’s efforts in the mid-year results in the Irish Business Against Litter Award being rated among the top 18 towns in the country as being “cleaner than European norms’ in the detailed report on the town.
Similar signage and banners have previously been erected by Youghal Town Council on the main by-pass approach road to Youghal and adjacent to Youghal Town Council Offices in the town centre.
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!