East Cork municipal district officials plan to invite members of a Youghal community group to discuss the rejection of a proposal to install a sculpture marking the town’s links with Moby Dick.

The decision was taken at this month’s meeting.

The group sought to install an interactive, whale-shaped bench at Market Dock near the town centre, where director John Huston shot the famed film’s opening scenes in summer 1954.

The lead sculpture, 1.5m high and 8m long, would include a voice recording of the book.

The group secured €20,000 funding for the installation, mostly from America, and had hoped to progress the project with local authority approval.

However, municipal district officer Joe McCarthy considered the sculpture out of sync with Cork County Council’s public realm plans for the area.

Reiterating his stance to Cllr Noel Collins at July’s municipal district meeting, he suggested the group “change the design” to complement the heritage nature of the area or locate it on the town’s perimeter such as the ’98 Memorial Park or the Strand.

Youghal 4 All PRO Adrian Hyde, however, says the bench should be sited where the filming occurred.

“The Market Square is by the harbour and includes the Moby Dock pub where John Huston set up office,” he argues.

“It holds the tourist office, coach tours stop there and it is overlooked by the Clock Gate tower.”

Formed in 2010, Youghal 4 All has created several local festivals.

The group feels Youghal tourism is not regarded seriously enough at county council level and says the failure to restore a historic viewing balcony overlooking Youghal Strand was symptomatic of that regard.

Mr Hyde is also perturbed that Youghal people accept such dismissals and says not enough voluntary effort is applied towards establishing Youghal as a family friendly holiday and heritage centre.

“Looking at successful towns similar to Youghal, it is a striking comparison to see ordinary people pulling together,” he said.

“The sense of outrage when funding is withdrawn and appearances are let slip is palpable in Dingle, Killarney or Kilkenny. But around here, we barely muster a whimper.”


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