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Queen of the Sea Youghal

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Queen of the Sea Youghal
VenueNealons Quay, Youghal
Location(s)Youghal, Co. Cork
Attendance5,000 (2018 estimated)[1]
Organized byYoughal Chamber of Tourism & Development


Queen of the Sea Youghal was an annual mid summer three day festival held in Youghal Co. Cork run by Youghal Chamber of Tourism and Development in the town of Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland from 2010 until 2019. The festival was created to provide a headline attraction to the town during the summer tourism season winning the East Cork Business & Tourism Awards[2][1] in its final year.


The Festival was an annual event running on the second weekend in July. Starting on Thursday night with a pre festival launch media party, local press had their opportunity to meet the candidates.


The Friday night of the event was the official kick off, where the Preview of the Queens was on stage, followed by an live outdoor concert from guest bands. The live concert was typically sponsored by one of the towns local businesses. Fancy Dress childrens competitions were also part of the opening ceremony, which was operated by Red FM.


Saturday was the main day of the festival with various events running throughout the town. Water and fire safety courses were provided free of charge by the towns Coast Guard and fire brigade services. A food festival ran all day featuring food trucks and local businesses. The Dulux Dog was also in attendance at Flavins Topline Store (the local hardware and paint shop). Live music ran on the Gig Rig all weekend, with local radio stations Red FM and Cork's 96FM operating on stage with live broadcasts. The main event of the evening featured the Queen of the Sea contest, followed by live tribute bands, and a fireworks display over the harbour. The Queen of the sea after party was held in a nearby nightclub.


The final day of the festival continued the water and fire safety courses. It also included a mock rescue by the Coast Guard helicopter, which was a huge attraction for smaller children. Typically the final event of the festival would be the Wife Carrying competition held on Youghal beach near the Mall Arts Centre.


Post the 2008 recession, Youghal which had suffered job losses due to factory closures leaving at least 2,000 people jobless. The town needed something to attract tourists to the town during historically busy summer seasons. Multiple ideas were proposed such as a Donkey Derby, Triathlons, Marathons and eventually a festival that would represent businesses and local interests in and around the town of Youghal.

Youghal Chamber of Tourism & Development would allocate funding towards the festival, and offered local businesses to sponsor contestants for the competition portion of the Festival. A volunteer based committee was formed to organise the events three day schedule.

The festival grew year and year, and became East Cork's most anticipated Festival, only behind St Patrick's Day Parades. Elements of other ideas were incorporated into fundraising for the festival. The Donkey Derby ran from the post office to Brookes Super Valu with Jockey Davy Russell in attendance. Donkey's were provided by a local donkey sanctuary with some of the proceeds going to aide the sanctuary. A five kilometre road race was organised for the June Bank Holiday weekends, with funds raised going towards the festival operating costs.

With rising insurance costs, increased demands on the volunteer based committee and the COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak, the 2020 Festival was cancelled, and future festivals have not been planned.


Queen of the Sea Youghal Winners
Year Winner Representing
2019 Sarah Murphy Slimming World
2018 Chloe Dempsey Tangled Hairdresser
2017 Alex Butler Flawless Beauty
2016 Becky Johnson Pat & Jason Ryan Motors
2015 Lauren Faul Jester Design
2014 Nikkita Matassa Walter Raleigh Hotel
2013 Sarah Jane Daly Brookes Super Valu
2012 Emily Humphreys The Cliffhouse Hotel


The Queen of the Sea Youghal 2019 festival was awarded the Best East Cork Festival Award in the Cork County Business & Tourism Awards on November 23rd, 2019. The award was awarded by Cork County Council, with almost 325 entries received from 240 different businesses and organisations throughout the county.


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named history
  2. "East Cork". County Cork Business & Tourism Awards. Retrieved 2020-09-22.

Publishing Queen of the Sea Youghal[edit]

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