Youghal courthouse ‘should be turned into a tourist office’
Cork County Councillor Mary Line han-Foley has called for Youghal’s former courthouse to be converted into a tourist office, with the present tourism premises returned for use by local sailing interests.
Both buildings lie facing each other at Market Square near the town centre. The riverside location is central to festival activities and is a stopoff for tour buses. The old courthouse is a listed building dating from 1847. It served as the town’s courthouse until the late 1990s when it closed for refurbishment.
Following the restoration work the Court Services opted to continue leasing the nearby Mall House, leaving the restored building idle ever since.
Cllr Linehan-Foley made her suggestion in a motion tabled at October’s East Cork municipal district meeting.
She said a larger tourist office is requisite anyway given Youghal’s evolving tourism and heritage developments. including Clock Gate tours, town walls restoration, proposed greenway, harbour pontoon ans boardwalk phase 2.
The councillor recalled the current tourist office having upstairs shower units, which were accessible to the local sailing club and to boat users in years past.
Cllr Linehan-Foley also suggested that her two-point proposal would be timely for next year’s first of three annual Ironman Cork triathlons, the finishing line for which is in Market Square. While Ironman organises its own infrastructure, the councillor anticipates a considerable increase in tourism.
The Court Services has already indicated a willingness to transfer the court house for community purposess, following a 2017 motion adoped on behalf of Cllr Linehan-Foley.
That advocated relocating the town library in the building but an alternative location is now earmarked.
Amidst unanimous support for the proposal, senior executive officer Seán O’Callaghan cautioned that “taking on such a building as the court house comes with liabilities too.” He said an audit on the condition of the building was underway.
Meanwhile chairman Cllr Noel Collins while supporting the motion, cited an alternative usage for either building as a homeless hostel, should the plans fail.