‘I’ve always loved Youghal… the town means a lot to us,’ says developer

In a panorama the place the race for city improvement is routinely outlined by stimulus packages and monetary imperatives it’s heartening to search out that feelings can nonetheless generally assist set off the beginning gun.

In fact sentiment doesn’t outline Redbarn (Youghal) Construction shopping for up a ghost property, constructing luxurious flats, demolishing a derelict manufacturing facility for properties and enterprise items, and even restoring an area cinema. Nonetheless, it stays a big a part of a narrative that particulars investments estimated to exceed €16m within the East Cork city.

“Naturally, we’re profit-driven, however sure, there was a level of sentiment round a few of our choices in Youghal,” agrees firm co-founder David O’Rourke from his house in Kildare.

David, his brother Iain, and their colleague Nick Eagle comprise Redbarn (Youghal) Development Ltd, which operates as a standalone entity to the broader household enterprise.

David’s paternal grandmother Maura was considered one of eight youngsters reared in a small home at McCurtainstown, by Youghal’s entrance strand. As a younger girl she left, married, and settled in Dublin, the place she died in 2014, aged 104.

The O’Rourke Dublin clan maintained a powerful reference to relations in Youghal and David has treasured reminiscences of his dad and his mum Perle bringing him, Iain, and their sister Diane on household holidays to the seaside city.

“I’ve nice reminiscences of swimming on the seaside, greyhound racing, and naturally Perks amusements with the dodgems, the massive slide, candyfloss, and so forth,” he says. “It was magical and I’ve all the time cherished Youghal for it.

“Now Sarah and I convey our personal two youngsters there. I like seeing them take pleasure in Youghal as I did. The city means rather a lot to us all.”

'Nobody was supplying houses to the private market, so there was virtually no competition,' says David O'Rourke. Picture: Dan Linehan
‘No person was supplying homes to the personal market, so there was nearly no competitors,’ says David O’Rourke. Image: Dan Linehan

David’s sojourns in Youghal have been curtailed when he attended boarding college at Clongowes Wooden Faculty, adopted by mission administration research at Dublin Enterprise Faculty.

Amid investments within the UK, Eire, mainland Europe, and Asia, the household bought off its Irish portfolio in 2006, simply previous to Eire’s financial crash.

The offloads, together with 50% ownerships in each the 400-acre Naas Millennium Park and Newhall Retail Park in Naas, bought for multi-million euros.

The proceeds enabled David to purchase a stud farm in Kentucky, which he bought in 2013.

As a racehorse proprietor his investments additionally mirror his hyperlinks to Youghal, carrying names reminiscent of Claycastle, Lighthouse Hill, Copperalley, and Ashton Courtroom.

In 2015, with Eire’s financial system on the rebound, David and UK-based enterprise capitalist Iain started to refocus on the Irish property market and significantly on ghost estates, including UK-based builder Nick Eagle to the ticket.

“After shopping for one ghost property in Laois, we then found Parkland in Youghal,” David says. “And we included Redbarn [Youghal] Development to purchase it.”

The property presently stays within the possession of Redbarn (Youghal) Development.

It now appears virtually prophetic that they’d assume possession of an eyesore property overlooking the city that had lengthy fragmented the hearts of locals.

“Parklands actually opened our eyes to alternatives in Youghal. No person was supplying homes to the personal market, so there was nearly no competitors,” says David.

There was additionally an inkling that Youghal was on the cusp of an upward curve; the primary section of the boardwalk was up and strolling, the enduring clock tower was restored, and Cork County Council was more and more cognisant of the city’s vacationer potential.

There was additionally a rising demand for housing as people gravitated outwards from Cork city and opted to commute to work.

The inexperienced shoots of a appropriate relationship with the native authority have been additionally evident. “We’ve made about six planning functions to Cork County Council by now they usually’ve been useful, progressive, and really skilled all through,” says David.

In the future, driving previous Youghal’s closed and crumbling Regal cinema, Sarah urged David and Nick to “purchase and restore it”.

Impressed each by the problem and the 80-year-old constructing’s standing as a neighborhood and heritage package deal, they purchased it for €90,000. 

“We then discovered we had completely no thought how, successfully, to create a contemporary cinema,” David says.

Inspired by the challenge and the 80-year-old building’s standing as a community and heritage package, the Regal Cinema was bought for €90,000. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Impressed by the problem and the 80-year-old constructing’s standing as a neighborhood and heritage package deal, the Regal Cinema was purchased for €90,000. Image: Howard Crowdy

With a catastrophe of Titanic proportions looming, a contented ending was assured when “a UK advisor with experience in impartial cinema” sailed in to the rescue.

“He directed brilliantly,” says David. “On his recommendation we sourced the whole lot we wanted from Eire, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, investing about €500,000 on a state-of-the artwork, absolutely automated, three-screen facility and wine bar, whereas retaining the venue’s fantastic intimacy.”

Maybe it additionally took the target eye of an outsider to note the potential of the nineteenth century former Loreto Convent and school at Lighthouse Hill.

Correctly generally known as Ashton Courtroom/Hyde Home, the elevated 4.2-acre website is in a spectacular setting overlooking the mouth of the Blackwater and the distant hills of Monatrea.

Groundwork on a 44-unit gated, luxurious condominium complicated started in 2018, earlier than a pause that coincided with Covid and is constant. Rumours of it being bought on are “unfaithful”, David assures. “Sadly the gross sales worth continues to be at round €300 per sqare foot,” he says.

“Having suffered pretty heavy inflation on the positioning, we have to shrink a few of the items and should have to re-submit for planning,” he says.

“In the meantime three small websites on the floor’s higher echelons on Golf Hyperlinks Rd have been cleared and are primed on the market.”

About 500 metres east of these websites and adjoining to Parklands sits the brand new, 15-unit Lios an Óir property. Once more, no one had sussed or seized the chance introduced by a greenfield gem sandwiched between two prior developments. “The primary residents have simply moved in”, notes David.

Groundwork on the former Loreto Convent in Youghal began in 2018, before a pause that coincided with Covid, but rumours of it being sold on are 'untrue'. 
Groundwork on the previous Loreto Convent in Youghal started in 2018, earlier than a pause that coincided with Covid, however rumours of it being bought on are ‘unfaithful’. 

Most lately the corporate lodged a section one(of three) planning software to transform the 4.2-acre former Seafield Textiles plant at Higher Strand to combined housing and business improvement.

It is a prime location, near the boardwalks and proposed water exercise centre at Claycastle and to the approaching Midleton-Youghal greenway. 

Its attract is enhanced by being “one of many solely flat websites accessible in Youghal,” David says.

Social media criticism of the acquisition has largely missed the truth that the distinctive artwork deco entrance facade might be retained within the improvement, which is able to function 33 items, with a restaurant and bicycle park changing an outdated gatekeeper’s cottage on the 5.8-acre website’s forefront.

“Phases two and three will contain residential and business improvement behind an artwork deco entrance facade, which might be retained and can embrace about 80 specifically-designed senior residing quarters,” he says.


A watch for suitability matched with self-belief appear each omnipresent and pivotal in Redbarn (Youghal) Development’s undertakings within the East Cork city.

It’s manifest additionally in smaller acquisitions, such because the three riverside outlets acquired at Allins Quay.

“They have been vacant for 10 years, in poor situation and prime examples of individuals assuming misplaced causes,” David says. “Individuals requested, ‘are you silly?’ However I wish to suppose constructive and after being restored for about €15,000 every, all three have been let inside a month of being marketed.”

The impetus has now prolonged into West Waterford by means of initiatives reminiscent of Lismore’s unfinished Railway Gardens, the place 17 homes stay into consideration.

There’s additionally now a practical consciousness of Youghal’s limitations.

“There is not that a lot left accessible from our perspective,” David says. “We do not wish to find yourself competing with ourselves. But when one thing good emerges, the price range is there.”

He cites two particular targets for 2023, nevertheless. “Consider it or not, I’ve by no means fished in Youghal and by no means taken a ship journey up the Blackwater. I intend to right that in 2023.”

Appears like one other good plan.

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