As published in Cork Now Magazine
Just like Gatsby and the infamous green light, I constantly find myself drawn to costal areas, I love homes that have a sweeping view across the sea, and so when I heard about a Lighthouse Keepers home in Youghal converted to luxury accommodation , an exploring trip was on my immediate radar!
On the eastern tip of Cork and part of Irelands Ancient East, Youghal boasts four beaches, a stunning boardwalk stroll and with the reopening of Youghals Clock Tower in the centre of the town there is plenty to see and do!
Arriving on a Saturday, the town centre was bustling with activity and we decided to start our day with a tour of the Youghal Clock Tower. Youghal Clock Gate Tower is identified as the iconic building between North and South Main Street and it’s impossible to miss as it is the most visible landmark in the town. A journey through time – under the watchful eye of the giant clock, the guided tour, which lasts an hour, is given by “storytellers” who take you through four floors of the Tower, each of which depicts a different era. The storytellers give you a fascinating insight into the significance of the Clock Tower , but it’s not just for history lovers, as they make the visit highly entertaining with the true stories of love and friendship and also pain and tragedy. The view from the roof is not to be missed , with its panoramic outlook of Youghal Town and Harbour.
Next up I was in need of my caffeine fix – and although Youghal is plentiful with coffee houses and restaurants, I was in search of something casual but different and found Priory Coffee Co on Main Street. Its located within a former 12th century Irish Benedictine Monastery and small portions of the building still survive, such as the stunning Gothic doorway and the archway beyond the entrance which leads to a passage of the original structure! They serve fabulous gourmet coffee and delicious fresh food and boast lots of organic chocolates and treats too!
By the time we dragged ourselves away from all those treats it was time to set off and check into our accommodation – what could be more unique than a Lighthouse Keepers house! I was extremely excited to finally get to experience this cliff edge home, overlooking beautiful Youghal bay.
The luxury property is owned by a young inspirational Irish girl, who was extremely brave to take on the project of renovating this 200 year old building and turning it into what it is today, a haven overlooking the sea. It was home to the lighthouse keepers and lightkeeper’s assistants for many decades, and now it has become a unique luxury treat, ideal for a romantic getaway or a family holiday because of its proximity to the town and beaches. The building itself is a listed building along with the adjacent Lighthouse (which is still fully operational) . The lighthouse is also going to be developed as a visitor amenity, with works to include the construction of a viewing balcony allowing for panoramic views of the harbour, the creation a ‘courtyard’ around the lighthouse and the inclusion of interpretive storyboards on the site.
Lighthouses are associated with isolation, enduring great storms and symbolise a way forward and a source of guidance for those at sea. Where this lighthouse keepers home is unique is that when you are within the luxurious walls of the house, you do feel isolated and a deep sense of peace, relaxation, security and serenity overlooking the calming views of the sea – (Personally, I think it would make a breathtaking place for a honeymoon retreat)
but if you so wanted you are within a stroll of the town on one of the most popular walkways which connects the town to the beaches of Claycastle, Front Strand and Redbarn Beaches, incorporating along the route the hugely popular Youghal Eco Boardwalk.
The owner of the property had amazing vision, keeping many original features and wonderfully representing the nautical theme throughout the house, and in addition has introduced many luxury elements such as Sonos speakers in the dining room, kitchen, conservatory, downstairs bathroom & master bedroom so that you can listen to romantic music (if the soothing sound of the sea isn’t enough!) ; Alexa virtual assistant ; a hanging chair to relax in and take in the view of the Atlantic and to top it all off, a bathtub with floor to ceiling windows on two walls, so you can soak up the views!
In the two main bedrooms the beds are raised up so that when you wake the first thing you see when you open your eyes is the sea and you can fall asleep listening to the crashing waves.
Once we got settled, it was time to explore what was right on our doorstep – the amazing diving rocks and beach just below the lighthouse! We decided on a pre-dinner run – and I can see the beaches around Youghal being used a lot more in coming months as scenic training run / swim locations as Youghal is the host of IRONMAN for 2019/20/21. This is the first time that a full-distance Ironman will be held in Ireland! Thousands of participants and spectators will descend on Youghal for this event and will be sure to experience an authentic #purecork welcome!
In the evening its beautiful to sit in the conservatory off the kitchen, watching the jetskis and boats go by waiting for the sun to set. Once darkness falls, the light from the lighthouse beams out across the garden and into the sea, every 2.5 seconds keeping those on the Youghal coast safe.
I can absolutely see a return visit in the near future, just like the light from the lighthouse, guiding me back to the solace and relaxation this beautiful town offers,
with a stay at the Lighthouse Keepers, a place to recharge the mind, like the peace in ones troubled sea.