Cork's newest visitor attraction is open to the public... after more than a decade of works and renovation.
Youghal Clock Gate Tower is back in business.
The iconic building, which dates from 1777 and straddles North and South Main Streets, has long been a postcard image for the town.
In recent times, however, it had slipped into disrepair - necessitating more than ten years of works to reboot it for 21st century tourism.
This week, Fáilte Ireland and Cork County Council officially marked the completion of works and the opening of a new visitor experience.
The revamped tower now includes a permanent interpretative exhibition, costumed storytellers, storyboards and audio-visual elements telling a story that goes back over 600 years... complete with translations for non-English speakers.
Set over four floors of the tower, visitors can immerse themselves in four different eras of time - including a medieval merchant’s dwelling, an 18th-century gaol, a ‘time keeping floor’ and a former family home.
Visits are by guided tour, with tickets from €9/50/€5 (adults/children) bookable online at youghalclockgate.ie or at the tourist office on Market Square.
Family tickets cost €24 for two adults and two children.
The capital project was grant aided to the tune of €200,000 from Fáilte Ireland’s ‘New ideas in Ancient Spaces’ capital grants scheme, with support from The Heritage Council and South & East Cork Area Development, among others.
It comes in the same week as the opening of a new, €6.5 million Medieval Mile Museum at St. Mary's Church in Kilkenny.
“These works will improve how visitors will interact with the Clock Gate Tower and bring the Ireland’s Ancient East story alive locally," said Jenny De Saulles, Head of Ireland’s Ancient East with Fáilte Ireland.
"An iconic attraction is now open and will be a wonderful addition to the tourism offering we have here in Cork County,” added Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey, speaking at the launch.