The National Enterprise Town Awards: Youghal

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Youghal in Cork.

Youghal is a heritage town and seaport situated approximately 30 miles east of Cork city on the main Cork/Waterford N25 route.

It is located on the estuary of the River Blackwater and is a local service centre and industrial base.

Being built on the edge of a steep riverbank, the town has a distinctive long and narrow layout. As of the 2016 census, the urban population of the town was 7,963, Cork City and the Greater Cork Area was nearing 400,000 and Waterford County was 110,000, making Youghal the centre of a population base of over 500,000.

Recognised as the nearest Irish port to Landsend and therefore mainland Europe, the town itself has been shaped by maritime trade and industrial development.

With prosperity came investment and the town is blessed with some of the finest medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture in the country.

The Collegiate Church of Saint Mary, nestling in a corner of Youghal s medieval town walls, can claim to be the oldest church in Ireland with continuous worship since the 13th century. Recently, the trusses of the stunning nave roof have been carbon-dated to the late 12th century.

Tourism is to the forefront with an extension to the much-celebrated beach boardwalk planned for this winter in time for the Summer of 2020, the opening of the Clock Gate as a touring destination, redevelopment of the Quay Areas, Medieval Quarter and Main Street, through Public Realm Improvements, Painting Schemes and Tidy Town success.

The town’s historical college has been transformed into an incubator centre for local start-up businesses, with additional studios created in the courtyard for artists.

So, from the Vikings to Walter Raleigh and a thriving tradition as a busy seaport that was home to vibrant international trade, Youghal once again stands on the precipice of history as an enterprise town that is well and truly open for business.

Youghal image: Wikimedia Commons

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 20 August, 2019