YOUGHAL RESIDENCES

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The parish comprises 9000 acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the surface is exceedingly undulating, and the lands are mostly under cultivation or planted; the substratum is clay-slate, the soil light but productive, and the system of agriculture is rapidly improving: there is a small portion of waste land, which is chiefly composed of marsh and turbary, comprising about 400 acres; it is being reclaimed and brought into cultivation.

The surrounding scenery is varied, bold, and interesting, and is embellished with numerous gentlemen's seats and flourishing plantations. Among these are Myrtle Grove, built in 1586 by Sir Walter Raleigh, and for some time the residence of that distinguished person, since whose death it has experienced but little alteration: it is the property of the representatives of the late Walter Hayman, Esq., and is now inhabited by Colonel Faunt. The house is situated in a secluded spot near the church, and, with the exception of some of the windows which have been modernised, preserves its antique character of pointed gables and spacious chimneys, and is considered a perfect specimen of the Elizabethan style of architecture. The drawing-room is panelled with polished oak superbly carved; the mantel piece is an elaborate and exquisite specimen of carved work in the richest designs, the lower cornice resting upon three beautiful figures representing Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the whole embellished with a profusion of richly carved figures and emblematical devices. In removing the panelling of one of the rooms, some years since, an aperture in the wall was discovered in which were found several old books; one bound in oak, and printed at Mantua in 1479, consisted of two parts, one in black letter, a history of the Bible, with coloured initials; the other an ecclesiastical history by John Schallus, professor of physic at Hernfield, dedicated to Prince Gonzales; it is now in the possession of Mathew Hayman, Esq., of this town.

The demesne of Myrtle Grove was remarkable for the luxuriant growth of myrtles, bays, the arbutus and other exotics in the open air, but all the largest myrtles have been cut down by the present tenant. On a hill above the town the potatoe, brought by Sir W. Raleigh from America, was planted; but from an erroneous opinion that the apple which grew on the stalk was the sole produce of the plant, it was gathered and rejected; and it was not till some time after, when the ground was dug for another crop, that the potatoes were discovered and the value of the plant appreciated: from these few plants the whole country was in course of time stocked. College House, the property of the Duke of Devonshire, is a handsome modern edifice, the ancient house built in 1464, having been taken down; it is a quadrilateral building with a circular tower at each angle; in the great hall is preserved one of the ancient mantel-pieces of the old house, of the same character but not of such elaborate workmanship as that at Myrtle Grove; the grounds are ornamented with myrtles, bay-trees, and the arbutus.

The other gentlemen's residences are Green Park, that of Captain H. Parker, R. N.; Clifton, of Sir William Homan, Bart.; Bellevue, of J. Power, Esq.; Nelson Hill, of Mrs. Green; Muckridge, of William Fitzgerald, Esq.; Brooklodge, of Mrs. Marsden; Healthfield, of Captain Cotter; Rockville, of Thomas Fuge, Esq.; and the Cottage, of Thomas Seward, Esq.; besides numerous large and handsome houses in the town.

The living is a rectory, formerly annexed to the Wardenship of the College of St. Mary, Youghal, as united in perpetuity to the see of Cloyne, by act of council in 1639, but separated from it by an act obtained by the late Dr. Brinkley; it now forms a distinct living, but the wardenship is still annexed to the bishoprick, and the Bishop is patron of the rectory.

The tithes amount to £521. 3. 3. The collegiate establishment was founded in 1464, by Thomas, Earl of Desmond, and consisted of a warden, eight fellows, and eight singing men: it was endowed with the parsonages of Aghem, Moyallow, Newtown, and Oletion, to which were subsequently added those of Ardagh, Clonpriest, Garrivoe, Ightermurragh, Kilcredan, and Killeagh, and the vicarage of Kilmacdonough, in the diocese of Cloyne, and four others in that of Ardfert, of all which the duties were performed by the warden and fellows.

The collegiate church was a magnificent structure in the enriched Gothic style of architecture, with a lofty tower on the north side: it consisted of a nave, choir, transepts, and north and south aisles; the nave and aisles have been fitted up for the parish church: the chancel or choir is a splendid ruin, the north transept is used as a vestry, and the south contains some ancient monuments of the founder, and also of the Earls of Cork and other branches of that family; the latter transept is considered the private property of the Duke of Devonshire; it is much neglected and fast going to decay. The edifice is remarkably handsome and contains a throne for the bishop, as Warden of Youghal, and a state pew for the corporation. Near the south end of the town is a chapel of ease, a neat plain building, erected in 1817 on the cemetery of the ancient Dominican friary, at an expense of £1200, of which £900 was a gift from the late Board of First Fruits and £300 was raised by subscription.

The R. C. district comprises the whole of the parishes of St. Mary Youghal and Clonpriest: the chapel is a handsome structure, 100 feet in length and 50 in breadth, built by subscription, aided by a donation of £700 from Dr. Coppinger, late R. C. bishop of Cloyne, under whose patronage it was erected; above the altar is a fine painting of the Crucifixion, brought from Lisbon. At the south entrance of the town a handsome convent for nuns of the Presentation order has been erected, towards the expense of which £2000 was received from Miss Gould, of Doneraile; attached to it are a small chapel and the female national schools. There are also places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists.

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