Almost 6,000 people passed through the doors of Youghal Clock Gate over the last twelve months – during what has been described as a fantastic first year for the newly-renovated tourist attraction.
The monument was re-opened to the public in November of 2016, emerging as a key area on Ireland’s Ancient East initiative. With the help of Youghal Socio Economic Development Group, Cork County Council and Fáilte Ireland, the Clock Gate underwent a series of development works last year. Guided tours are now commonplace and they have proved a hit with locals and tourists alike.
Speaking to the East Cork Journal, about the first twelve months of the Clock Gate Tours, Aileen Murray of YSEDG said; ‘‘it has worked really well. The tour has proved to be hugely popular, with both international visitors and Irish visitors. The story and how everything connects – one floor leads to the other – is what people are amazed with.’’
Twelve months on from the official opening of the town’s most visible landmark, it is fair to assume that the facility has had a positive impact on Youghal. Nearly 6,000 people have visited the Clock Gate. It’s also reported that an extra 13,000 people have passed through Youghal’s Visitor / Heritage Centre in 2017, as a result of its marketing campaign. Murray believes that the town will see even greater benefits, from the Clock Gate’s emergence as a major visitor centre, in the years to come.
‘‘Fáilte Ireland, under the Ireland’s Ancient East brand, brought us a huge amount of familiarisation trips. These are made up of international journalists and tour operators. We won’t start to see the benefits of this for another couple of years. All of this will pay off in the long run.
‘‘We have also been promoting and packaging different attractions in Youghal. Again, this is long-term planning. But, we are selling Youghal as a destination – to get people to dwell in the town and maybe have lunch. For example, tours of the Clock Gate, St Mary’s, the Town Walls and the tour of the town, and the boardwalk. We are not looking at the Clock Gate in isolation. We are looking at it as an overall package.’’
Youghal Clock Gate was built way back in 1777. It has served as a prison, a gateway, a home and now it is one of Youghal’s most exciting tourist attractions. The tour incorporates four floors and tells a story spanning over 600 years. Effective backdrops and competent storytellers embellish the visitor’s experience.
Group tours are being taken by appointment over the Christmas period. The official touring season will commence in the Spring of 2018. More information on the Clock Gate can be found at www.youghalclockgate.ie