YOUGHAL ANTIQUITIES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The western gable and some of the eastern portions of the Dominican friary, at the north end of the town, still remain. The chancel of the collegiate church of St. Mary, now in ruins, affords a good specimen of its former magnificence; the east window of six lights is richly embellished with flowing tracery; on the north side of the altar is a canopied niche with crocketed finials of elegant design, in which was formerly a tomb, now removed, but there is still remaining the inscription, "Hic jacet Thomas Fleming:" on the south side of the altar is another ancient tomb.

On the south side is a chapel, formerly called the chantry of our Blessed Saviour, which was purchased from the corporation by the first Earl of Cork, and contains the remains of that nobleman and of several of his family, to whose memory is a handsome altar-tomb, bearing his effigy recumbent under a splendid arch, with those of his two wives kneeling; on either side, and around, are the effigies of his children: over the monument is a large mural tablet of black marble, with the genealogy of the family; there is also the monument of the founder of the chapel, which having been defaced in the Desmond rebellion was restored by the Earl; and a splendid monument of white marble to the memory of Lord Broghill.

The south transept or chapel, now used as a vestry, contains some ancient monuments, among which is one to the Uniacke family, with a cross fleury and inscription, both in relief, but much injured by exposure to the damp; it bears the date 1557. At the west entrance into the church are two monuments found, a few years since, in digging the foundations of the new buildings on the site of the ancient Franciscan monastery at the south end of the town, one bearing a male and the other a female effigy, supposed to be husband and wife, with an inscription in Norman French nearly obliterated: on the north side of the altar is a very chaste and beautiful monument of white marble, to the family of Smith, of Ballinatra.

In the churchyard, which is one of the most spacious in the kingdom, are also many curious ancient monuments deserving of notice. Of the ancient walls little remains excepting on the western side of the town, where they are tolerably perfect, and one of the old round towers is remaining. The gates have all been removed, except the Water gate leading out to the quay, which is extremely dilapidated; and the Dock-gate, which has been recently rebuilt.

In the north main street is Tynte's castle, which is in the style of those erected in the reign of Elizabeth; it was built by a powerful family of that name, from one of whom Smith relates that the Lord-President was obliged to seize £4000 for the supply of his army. At the north-eastern extremity of the parish, near the river Toragh, are the remains of the castle of Kilnatoragh, a noble structure formerly belonging to the great Earl of Desmond.

Several of the ancient houses are still remaining in the town, some of them having the staircases in the walls, which are of extraordinary thickness: among them is one said to have been that of Coppinger, the mayor who was hanged before his own door, and also one in which Cromwell took up his residence during his stay here.

A great quantity of silver coins was found here in 1830; the number could not be ascertained, but more than 400 oz. were sold as old silver in Cork; they were mostly pence and half groats of Edward I., and also some halfpennies of the same reign. In 1818, several pieces of stamped pewter of the size of half-crowns and shillings were found near the walls, which had evidently been made and passed as money.

Many remains of crosses, croziers, and other ornaments worn by the monks and friars have been found. On the old Cork road, near Mary Ville, the residence of Mr. Taylor, are the remains of an ancient Danish fort, which runs under ground nearly a mile. There are two chalybeate springs, one on the Spa road near the fever hospital, and the other at the quarry near the Waterford road, which are but seldom used. The Earl of Cork and Orrery, among his inferior titles in the peerage of Ireland, enjoys that of Baron Boyle, of Youghal.

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