Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Anonymous
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On that ‘Billy’ in Youghal, it’s unlikely that it was originally an isolated example. North Main Street was a medieval street and like the main streets of most Irish medieval towns, urban renewal would have been a constant force, especially in the periods of stability and prosperity such as the period that followed the hasty departure of James II from nearby Kinsale in July 1690.

There’s one of those late medieval urban tower houses [Tynre’s Castle] further north along the street, but pretty much everything else in the photograph appears to be a 19th century rebuild, so if the Colbert shop was previously part of a gabled streetscape, that evidence is probably lost.

The fine Queen Anne style ‘Red House’, on the opposite side of the street to Tynte’s Castle, is said to have been designed by the Dutch architect, Leuventhan, in 1703, so it wouldn’t be a huge stretch of the imagination to suppose that Dutch expertise was at hand in Youghal to help guide the emerging trend in street-architecture down the currently fashionable Dutch-gabled path.

There are a couple of 18th century views of Youghal, but they don’t give us a whole lot of detail.


a painting of Youghal from about 1720


an engraving of Youghal by Anthony Chearnley for Smyth’s History of Cork published in 1748.

We remember the Chearnley view of Cork city as a total Billyfest, but this view of Youghal, by contrast, looks suspiciously like little more than a copy of the earlier painting with a bit of up-dated that may, or may not, have been largely conjectural. The Main Street would have been behind the buildings visible on the quayside and we don’t even see their rooftops unfortunately.

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