'Very sad to see this happen': Gardaí investigating fire at iconic Youghal building 

“We are touched by the emotional messages from so many former pupils expressing their sorrow at the mindless vandalism.” 
'Very sad to see this happen': Gardaí investigating fire at iconic Youghal building 

Two units of Youghal fire brigade attended the scene at the former Loreto Convent building on Lighthouse Hill. Picture: Youghalonline.com

The Redbarn Group, owners of the former Loreto Convent in Youghal, said they are touched by an outpouring of concern following a fire at the building at the weekend.

Two units of the Fire Brigade, along with Gardaí, attended the blaze which broke out on Sunday evening.

Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating “an incident of criminal damage by fire.” 

Smoke from the fire at the convent was visible across Youghla town on Sunday evening. Picture: Youghalonline.com
Smoke from the fire at the convent was visible across Youghla town on Sunday evening. Picture: Youghalonline.com

 Dermot O’Rourke, on behalf of Redbarn Group, said they are relieved that the fire did not cause major damage.

“Fortunately the damage was not as severe as the plume of smoke would suggest, and the actual damage was confined to one room and the adjacent hallway,” he told The Echo.

“We are touched by the emotional messages from so many former pupils expressing their sorrow at the mindless vandalism.” 

One former pupil, local councillor Mary Linehan Foley, said it was very disappointing to see the fire. 

"I went to school there and it is very sad to see this happen to the building," she said. "Everyone I have spoken to about it has said it is a building everyone loves in Youghal, its very historic and people have a lot of lovely happy memories there.

"It is in a prime location and it is the nicest building in Youghal with the nicest views.

"I'm disappointed and saddened that this happened to such an iconic building."

The Redbarn Group are relieved no one was hurt in the blaze and hopeful that the garda investigation will lead to a prosecution.

“I’m glad to say that there were no injuries, but investigations are continuing based on sophisticated CCTV evidence available to us,” Mr O’Rourke said. “The theory is that the fire was started deliberately, and the guards are following a definite line of enquiry, and prosecutions are likely to follow.” 

 The Loreto Convent closed down in 2006 and there are plans to develop apartments on the site. The building dates back to the mid-1800s.

Note: In an earlier report, we included a quote from Gardaí which said injuries had been reported in the fire. Gardaí have now confirmed there were no injuries. 

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