Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Youghal (pronounced Yawl)

The family story is that when he was nine years old John Hillgrove went to sea on his uncle's ship. It's probably true - John grew up in a seaside town called Youghal in County Cork and his father worked as a coastguard we think. We know for certain that in 1852 he was working on a ship called the Marmion when it delivered immigrants to Victoria at Portland. Gold had been discovered sat Ballarat several months earlier and John, with other sailors, jumped ship and headed for the goldfields too. He ended up marrying Janet Blair and becoming a farmer in the Wimmera and Mallee. He was my Pop Smith's grandfather.

Youghal is on the south coast and we really enjoyed our visit there on a lovely sunny and calm day. We stayed so long the tide came in and went out. (I've been a bit besotted by harbours on our trip. I love the images of small sheltered harbours with the colourful boats lying on the sand.)

Even though I've read quite a bit about Youghal I hadn't realised that it is still a walled town. There are several gates on the high street and quite a bit of the wall is in good condition.

And I've fallen in love with the colourful shops in Ireland. It would be fantastic to do a photographic study of just shop fronts or doors and windows but I'm sure it's already been done. These were in Youghal.

Also in Youghal is the one and only street in Ireland where you drive on the 'wrong' side of the road - up on the right and back on the left.


  1. do you have a relative in EVERY IRISH TOWN?
    Is it true that your great-great maternal grandmother had a cousin first removed who in the 17th century established a watch-making business, or was it a merchant bank, in Switzerland?
    love, Triggs

  2. Irish in our blood - couldn't recall when trying to explain our lineage to Scott.
    Do we have any convicts? Desperate to have bragging rights??
    Safe travels. Rexxx

  3. Hi Granpa Rex. I've added young Finn to the family tree :) It's such fun being grandparents - you have a lot of joy ahead.

    No convicts on the Smith/Duckett side of the family I'm afraid. They were a law-abiding lot. (I can brag about having one on dad's side though.)