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An image near the bottom of the page sparks the retelling of a hilarious expedition from Youghal to pay respects to Queen Victoria.
|You are looking west from the western edge of the town. The beach stretches for miles, past Redbarn and on to Knockadoon Head with Capel Island and its bird sanctuary, the shoreline turns to sea cliffs and small coves.
This is a mid-winter picture, just in case you are wondering!
|The view westwards from the golf course on the hill above gives a better impression of the scale|
|Turn to the east. The houses follow the beach around the headland and up the river. On the far side of the river mouth you can see that the shoreline turns again to sea cliffs.|
|Right at the river mouth, the rocks echo the more rugged coast on the far side. You get a better view of the cliffs and small coves (The type of shoreline that Slartibartfast (no kidding), the planet designer in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, called "the crinkly bits").|
|The lighthouse is just inside the river mouth. The main town is a little upstream, on a narrow strip of land between the hillside and the water. You are looking northwards, over the estuary.|
|After passing the lighthouse, the road drops down to sea level again, beside another sandy beach. It's a long slope, so a horse and carriage might be handy.|
|The town park is beside the beach.|
|You then enter the old medieval main street. The entrance to the oldest part of town is marked by the Clock Gate.|
|Corners like this bring film makers.|
|The house fronts on the main street reflect the narrow medieval plots.|
|This is the Watergate. This was the walled port's most important gateway. It connected the town to the sea. All trade, merchants, soldiers and adventurers had to pass under this arch. Sir Walter Raleigh and Oliver Cromwell would have known these stones.|
|Another small beach near the quay.|
|Ideal sailing on sea, estuary and river.|
|What's the French for "Ahoy there mateys"?|
|I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
for I left my shoes and socks there,
and I wonder if they're dry.
|For those who can't face the rolling main, a steamboat upriver might be a good alternative.|
Speaking of steamboats
In August 1849, Queen Victoria paid her first visit to Ireland at Queenstown (now Cobh) and a group from Youghal viewed the occasion. They had an adventurous journey on board the steamer Arab.
"During her short voyage, the vessel experienced a variety of casualties. When leaving Youghal, she came into collision with a schooner, and injured her. On reaching Capel Island, she took fire; but it was soon extinguished. She sank a boat in Cork Harbour, and perilled the lives of two sailors in it; and on reaching the Royal Presence, her flag, which bore the Arms of Youghal, could not be lowered, it having fouled somewhere in the rigging."
|An old postcard, dating from ..ooh, way back.|