“There is no other town in the country that can claim such unique built-and-natural heritage assets,” said the Mayor of the County of Cork Mary Linehan Foley, as Ireland’s longest seafront boardwalk was opened in Youghal yesterday.
The official opening of the two-metre-wide and 7km walkway, between Youghal town centre and Redbarn beach, marks the completion of phase two of the project, valued at €2.2m, with €1.7m provided by Cork County Council and €500,000 provided under the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
This phase saw an extension of the existing boardwalk, from Claycastle beach to Redbarn beach.
Youghal native and outgoing mayor of Co Cork, Independent councillor Mary Linehan-Foley, said the boardwalk will be a great asset for both Youghal and East Cork.
“Signing the contract for these works was my first undertaking as Mayor of the County Cork, and it’s fitting that the official opening is one of my final engagements in office,” she said.
“The boardwalk completion greatly improves access, enhancing the natural heritage of this scenic area, facilitating easy access for the elderly, people with limited mobility, wheelchair users, and pushchairs.”
Cork County Council chief executive Tim Lucey said: “The boardwalk is a unique selling proposition for marketing Youghal, delivering a huge incentive to drive eco-tourism in an area identified by Fáilte Ireland as a key destination within the experience brand of Ireland’s Ancient East. Benefitting domestic and international visitors by providing a safe, well-marked walkway, it will develop the wider area as a destination. Those holidaying in the Redbarn area will now have direct pedestrian access to the town, driving footfall to the town centre and ultimately become a driver for economic regeneration.”
The boardwalk supports the aims of the Government’s Healthy Ireland initiative. The cultural shift in attitudes towards physical and mental wellbeing has been reflected over the past 18 months in Youghal, with a marked increase in users of the boardwalk.
The extension of the boardwalk from Claycastle to Redbarn has been widely welcomed by locals, visitors, and businesses in the area.
Chairman of Youghal Business Alliance Ger Flanagan said: “We are delighted with the official opening of the new boardwalk, which will be a major attraction for tourists and locals alike.”
Padraig Hennessy of Youghal Chamber of Tourism and Development also welcomed the launch, saying: “The opening of the new boardwalk will be a gamechanger for Youghal. It is a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful beaches and wonderful amenities.”
Marketing and development manager of Youghal Socio Economic Development Group Aileen Murray said: “The development of Phase 1 of the boardwalk was one of Youghal’s biggest success stories and many thousands of people have walked it since. The development of Phase 2 to Redbarn will completely transform the visitor experience to our beautiful beaches and encourage even greater visitor numbers to our town.”
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork East James O’Connor said: “It is great to see the boardwalk in Youghal being extended. It will be an opportunity to further highlight the significance of Ballyvergan Marsh, which runs adjacent to the boardwalk. It will be a great attraction for both visitors and locals alike.
“I look forward to seeing other developments being pursued in the future, such as the Midleton to Youghal Greenway.”