At the bottom of this very nondescript lane you’ll see an old stone arch and as this is a Thursday Doors post, I’ve taken photographs of a couple of doors on my way through the lane. There’s even a few fake windows thrown in for good measure – alongside the blue door.
Of course, it’s the oldest structure that often steals the show when you come across a mix of architecture from different eras, and that’s certainly the case down Quay Lane in Youghal (Yawl), County Cork.
The Water Gate (known by locals as Cromwell’s Arch) is a 19th century reconstruction of one of five medieval gates, set in the old town walls. 400 years ago, you would be looking at the sea through that arch. This particular gate was probably the most important because it controlled the sea trade of Youghal. The town’s medieval harbour was located just outside the Water Gate but was infilled in the mid 1700’s. The reason the gate is known locally as Cromwell’s Arch is because Oliver Cromwell left through it in May 1650, to board the frigate President, bound for Bristol.
He had arrived in Youghal in August of the previous year. His reason for being in Ireland was to quell a rebellion. Having decided to winter his army of 10,000 cavalry and foot soldiers in the town, Cromwell lodged at the old priory of St. John’s on North Main Street (pictured below). The arched doorway is still in its original state, just as it was when Cromwell walked through. So too, is the long, narrow window above it. The red and white door and window are much later additions as is the wooden door in the old arch.
After spending nine months fighting Irish rebels, Cromwell received news that Scottish loyalists were planning an invasion of England and he left Ireland through the Water Gate in Youghal, transferring his command to his son-in-law, Henry Ireton. Those Gaels (Irish and Scottish) certainly gave him a run for his money, didn’t they?
I hope you enjoyed your visit to medieval Youghal today. For more Thursday Doors of varying age and condition, hop on over to the blue ‘frog’ link on Norm’s blog and see what surprises await you.