Blooming great idea transforms vacant shops in Youghal.
AYoughal florist’s creativity has been allowed to blossom to breathe a new lease of life into some of the town’s vacant and derelict retail premises.
Kay Curtin, proprietor of Kay’s Flower Shop, used a variety of materials, embellisments and lashings of imagination to construct themed window displays in empty properties.
Assisted by daughters Orlaith (24) and Alison (15), Kay used sewing materials, beach items, wine bottles, newspapers, old photos and even samples of Youghal lace to transform windows.
The move was a collaborative project between the Youghal Forum consortium group, of whom Kay is a member and Youghal Tidy Towns.
Cork County Council provided €800 to help cover expenses under the government’s Creative Ireland scheme and also provided paint to the Tidy Towns committee which painted the premises’ exteriors.
Kay transformed the vacant windows of a newly-repainted former off-licence to reflect Youghal’s beach culture.
A decrepit former taxi base is now admired for its use of replica photos of local scenes from the early 1900s, which are complimented by boxes wrapped in newspaper and colourful bunting.
An ex-barber shop has become a showcase for Youghal lace, a closed pub is now a purple-themed display platform and a former pottery outlet serves to advertise the local Comhaltas group.
The florist says the public reaction to the project has been “extremely supportive”, with “a lot of people asking whether we will be undertak- ing more premises”. While further shops may be targeted in 2018, it is understood that some property owners are difficult to trace while others are reluctant to provide access to their properties.
In some cases, the buildings may require structural refurbishment within.
While Kay acknowledges that the project is cosmetic rather than commercial, shefeels “taking the derelict look off properties at least shows the town in a positive light”.
A recent survey found Youghal has the county’s highest level of vacant commercial buildings.
Youghal Forum spokesman Micheál de Buitléir says enhancing vacant premises presents an opportunity for temporary ‘pop-up’ shops that can bring social and cultural benefits to a town, such as the ‘rambling house’ Comhaltas musical initiative planned for the former pottery shop.
Kay Curtin of Kay’s Flowers, 136, North Main St Youghal, with her daughters Alison and Orlaith, who helped her to dress the windows of five empty premises in Youghal, pictured in front of one of the premises’ windows where they have displayed photographs on the history of Youghal lace.
The iconic clock tower in the town of Youghal, where local businesswoman Kay Curtin came up with idea to dress the windows of five empty premises in the town.
A colourful floral window display in vacant Youghal business designed by Kay Curtin of Kay’s Flowers.
Kay Curtin of Kay’s Flowers, shows one of the windows she dressed with old pictures of the town in a vacant premises in Youghal.
A seaside theme in the window of one of the vacant premises in Youghal transformed by Kay Curtin of Kay’s Flowers in the town.