Coun­cil hopes light­house can draw tourists

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Christy Parker

Cork County Coun­cil has ap­plied for fund­ing from the De­part­ment of Arts, Her­itage and the Gaeltacht to help trans­form the grounds of Youghal light­house into a vis­i­tor at­trac­tion.

The quar­ter- acre site sits fac­ing the west Water­ford hills and af­fords panoramic view of the har­bour mouth from 30m above craggy rocks. “It would make an ideal view­ing area,” says Ms Mulc­ahy.

The plot in­cludes a cou­ple of ad­join­ing out­houses, but an­other ne a r by p ro pe r t y on the grounds re­mains in pri­vate own­er­ship.

The plan does not in­clude open­ing the light­house it­self to vis­i­tors as the space within is “in­cred­i­bly small” says east Cork mu­nic­i­pal district of­fi­cer He­len Mulc­ahy.

Ms Mulc­ahy does not dis­count the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­cess to the tower at some fu­ture date may be ex­plored.

Cork County Coun­cil ac­quired own­er­ship of the light­house and its as­so­ci­ated lawn and sheds fol­low­ing the abo­li­tion of Youghal Town Coun­cil in 2014.

That was a year af­ter the town coun­cil had re­ceived own­er­ship of the struc­tures from the Com­mis­sion of Ir­ish Lights.

The han­dover arose af­ter a 2010 com­mis­sioner re­view had de­cided that Youghal light­house served as an aid to lo­cal nav­i­ga­tion only, while govern­ment fund­ing since then only sup­ports gen­eral nav­i­ga­tion aids.

Yo ug h a l To w n Coun­cil wa nt e d own­er­ship of the ad­ja­cent prop­erty also, to cre­ate a craft shop and café but the com­mis­sioner opted to sell that sec­tion in­stead.

The county coun­cil spends around €6,000 main­tain­ing the light­house and its en­vi­rons. Its main­te­nance du­ties in­clude keep­ing the light­house func­tional. An elec­tronic cir­cuit drives a sin­gle LED lamp, with the bulb “checked every week”, Ms Mulc­ahy says. The com­mis­sioner be­queathed a large quan­tity of the 1,000 watt bulbs ( t wo a year) when hand­ing over the fa­cil­ity.

Mean­time, the light­house ex­te­rior is be­ing re­painted in a process that is re­peated every five years.

Per­haps sur­pris­ingly, the new coat is “bog stan­dard, br i l l i a n t wh i t e We at h e r - shield”, says the district of­fi­cer, say­ing it is “ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to get any­body to paint a light­house.”

The suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant was Tip­per­ary paint­ing con­trac­tor Tommy Flanag an, alerted by e-ten­der.

Youghal light­house. Coun­cil hopes to con­vert t at­trac­tion.

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