Youghal in east Cork, a stone’s throw from Co Waterford, is seeking support from both county councils to help finance a major landscape project.
A proposed new scheme, eagerly approved at February’s meeting of Youghal Town Council, aims to create an eye-catching and functional vista that will induce west-bound traffic to detour into the town rather than continuing on to a bypass route.
It is envisaged the scheme will comprehensively transform its access point at the Cork-Waterford border.
The multi-phase project is planned over five years and could cost about €1m.
In addition to the assistance being sought from Cork and Waterford county councils, community groups such as the Tidy Towns committee are also likely to come on board.
The proposed scheme is over a 1.8km stretch of the R643, between the Rhincrew and Greencloyne roundabouts, and involves a programme of heavily-planted trees and colourful shrubs, creating an attractive first impact leading to a treelined avenue with parallel cycle and pedestrian paths.
Hydro-seeding would be deployed to solidify the effect throughout.
A large sculpture to signify the town’s entrance, a recreation area on adjoining land, along with lighting and other effects to highlight outstanding features in the area, are also proposed.
Currently, the area offers little more than uninspiring bogland, some industrial complexes, a landfill and recycling centre, and a sludge treatment plant. A bare hillside, stripped of foliage during the bypass construction a decade ago, accentuates the dourness.
Presenting their prototype plan to the council meeting, Kevin Jermyn and James Egan of Cork-based landscape consultants Jermyn Egan, concurred with town clerk Liam Ryan’s assessment that the route was immensely unattractive and neglected.
Mr Jermyn proposed hydro-seeding the bare hillside and sewing climber plants on adjacent structures. “Lavender plants would lend appeal to the roundabouts, while an attractive stone bridge that is quite visible as one approaches the Rhincrew roundabout, could be highlighted with lighting,” he said.
“Youghal has many attractions, including its beaches, harbour, heritage and fine restaurants but they are being lost to people on the N25 meeting this depressing entrance. This project has to be delivered,” Mr Ryan said.
“Youghal Town Council has taken leadership in commissioning and paying for the master plan. It’s up to the other local authorities and community groups to come on board with us now.”