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Latest News > Youghal’s Clock Gate

Article Uploaded : 2013-10-23 by MMD Construction

Youghal’s Clock Gate dates back to the late 14th/15th century, functioning originally as one of the five principle gates of the town, and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Youghal. 

The monument, straddling the main street, stands on the site of the former Trinity Castle, one of the five 14th-15th century gates.  The clock, installed in 1620, had a number of functions including issuing warnings and broadcasts.

The current structure replaced Trinity Castle in 1777 and served as a gaol until 1837. The building served as a museum and a family home during the 1950s-70s.  Youghal’s medieval town walls have also been restored as the town evolves into a major history and heritage destination.

Following a request by Youghal Town Council’s Heritage Municipal Committee to The Irish Walled Towns Network, The Heritage Council of Ireland commissioned a feasibility study on the restoration and potential uses of the Clock Gate.  Youghal Town Council requested the YSEDG set up a steering committee to oversee the project. This team developed a business plan, based on the preferred option from the feasibility study.  Members of the team included representatives from the YSEDG, Elected Council Representatives on Youghal’s Heritage Municipal Committee, Youghal Town Clerk, South & East Cork Area Development, South Cork Enterprise Board, Failte Ireland, The Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltact, Youghal Chamber of Tourism & Development and David Kelly Partnership.

It is certainly a very exciting time for Youghal residents and visitors alike as MMD complete the conservation and renovation of Youghal Clock Gate.  This project included massive restoration work aimed at reopening one of the country’s most iconic monuments as a tourist attraction.

Phase 1 of a two-stage project on included the complete renovation of the building’s physical structure. 

This work comprised of window repairs and ceiling and wall restoration, along with a new staircase and clock renovation.  The entrance will also be enhanced to include a reception area while external stonework will be repointed, with railings and steps restored.

The existing copper roof dome was fully refurbished, wooden hoardings replaced and a glass palisade installed to enable safe public access to the roof.

The project follows five years of feasibility studies and consultations involving Youghal Town Council, Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group, the Heritage Council of Ireland and various business, community and tourism groups.

That four-storey refurbishment includes recreating the old gaol, an interpretive heritage centre, art and crafts, a “camera obscura” virtual observation desk and roof access.

Youghal Clock Tower from MMD Construction on Vimeo.

First Floor – Interpretive Heritage Centre

This will include some display cabinets, information displays, literature displays and perhaps some wax models.  This may also include an interactive information module where visitors could learn more about historical and heritage features in Youghal and the wider Cork area.

Second Floor – Display of Crafts and Wares

This area will be designed in association with South Cork Enterprise Board and The Craft Council of Ireland.  This fit-out may include various display units as well as some interactive modules showing the various crafts prepared in the county, the history behind the crafts, etc. 

Third Floor – Recreation of the original Tower as a Jail

This floor will include various reconfigurations of the jail and the various characters who were ‘guests’ in the jail.  It will also include various display units and a visual interactive module for more detailed information, etc.

Fourth Floor – Virtual Observation Deck 

This final floor will include the virtual observation deck using the “camera obscura” concept. This will require specific technical equipment that will need to be reconfigured specifically for the Clock Gate.

Roof & actual Observation Deck

This will house a rooftop telescope. 

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