Sir Walter Raleigh – Youghal and the Collegiate Church
Walter Raleigh (c.1552-1618) was an Elizabethan adventurer who gained a huge estate in Munster following the failed Desmond Rebellion of 1579. His lands included the town of Youghal where he lived at Myrtle Grove, (beside the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin).
Raleigh was mayor of Youghal in 1588 and 1589. He was friendly with the poet Edmund Spenser who, like Raleigh, had been granted land in Munster.
According to tradition, Raleigh planted the first potatoes in Ireland in the garden at Myrtle Grove. Another story tells of how Raleigh was smoking in the garden and a servant – never having seen tobacco before – threw water over him thinking Raleigh was on fire!
Another incident recalls how Raleigh was smoking in the garden of his home, Myrtle Grove when his servant, never having seen tobacco before, threw water over him fearing that he had been set alight. Raleigh was Mayor of Youghal in 1588 and 1589.