The Water Gate (known by locals as Cromwell’s Arch) was a 13th century gate built to provide access through the town walls to the docks where the Youghal Tourist Office and Nealon’s Quay car park now resides.
When Youghal was a walled medieval town, it had five gates, and the Water Gate gave access to the harbour and the sea. This gate saw two very important events in Youghal’s history. The first, came to be known as the Sack of Youghal. As the centre of English power in Munster, Youghal was vitally important. On November 13th, 1579 Gerald Fitzgerald sought to destabilise power within the region and massacred the towns garrison, hanged the English officials and looted the townspeople’s homes. The Water Gate was the final stand of the garrison and people.
The second event occured 71 years later on May 26th, 1650 when Lord Protectorate Oliver Cromwell left Ireland for the final time. Cromwell had completed his campaign to conquer all of Ireland on behalf of the English crown,
The gate you see today was restored in the 19th century. The gate is pinched between two lines of more modern buildings in Quay Lane and only a short section of the original wall can still be seen. The top of the gate has some crenellations and a arrow loop.
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