Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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First visitors to the Museum on reopening 1st July

Our first visitors to the museum on reopening on 1st July were Declan and Joanne Faughey from Borris, Co. Carlow.  Our curator William Fraher presented them with a copy of “The Towns and Villages of the Waterford Greenway” to mark the occasion.  They were delighted to receive the book since they had just cycled the greenway from Waterford. 

Donation to the Museum

The museum was very grateful this week to receive a donation by Jimmy Power of a black and white portrait of Dungarvan artist Michael Mulcahy, along with a postcard by Edmund Keohan.

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 12 - Window Guards

Window guard, Church St.

Letting the air in and keeping the Burglar out –
Window Guards

Decorative window guards of cast or wrought-iron were a common feature to be seen on the ground floor windows of houses which faced onto main streets in Irish towns and villages.  They offered protection and prevented people sitting on low window-sills while at the same time adding a decorative flourish to the façade of the house.  They allowed the lower window sash to be opened and prevent burglars entering.

Window guard design from MacFarlane's catalogue

As we have seen in previous posts much of the cast ironwork in Dungarvan was manufactured at Walter MacFarlane’s foundry in Scotland. This week we show examples which can be seen on windows around Dungarvan and reproduce the design from the MacFarlane catalogue.  If these panels are regularly maintained, they will survive for long periods and add a pleasing visual note to our buildings and streets.
Window guard, Main St.
Window guard, Commercial Club, St. Mary's St.

Window guard, Emmet St

Window guard, The Moorings
Window guard, Sexton St., Abbeyside
Window guard, Augustinian school, Main st.

Window guard Main St. design in MacFarlane's catalogue

Bank House window guard

Bank House window guard design from MacFarlane's catalogue

Bank House window Guard with design from MacFarlane's catalogue above

Drawing by W. Fraher

New Exhibition - Co. Waterford during the Revolutionary Period - 1914-1923

We are happy to present a new exhibition for our reopening – 

Co. Waterford during the Revolutionary Period – 1914-1923

This exhibition is planned to mark the Decade of Centenaries and uses photographs of the period from our extensive image archive.  The Banners were designed and printed by local firm Printmaster.

We also have another exhibition on a similar theme: The Phil O’Donnell Collection.  This presents a selection of documents assembled by Dungarvan native Mr. O’Donnell when he was working for the Bureau of Military History from 1954-56 and interviewed Co Cork Republicans.  He was also an internee at Spike Island in 1921 and there is a roll book of all internees held there and other documents relating to a planned hunger strike and the death of one the internees.

Waterford County Museum to reopen on Wednesday 1st July

We are delighted to reopen to visitors on Wednesday 1st July.

We would ask intending visitors to read the notice in the foyer before entering as it will explain new procedures and about some reduced facilities.  Please note there will be a one-way system in operation. Only ten people will be admitted at any one time.

The opening hours will now be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 11 - Wrought Iron Gates

Wrought Iron Gates - St. Mary's Church of Ireland

These gates are the oldest pieces of wrought iron remaining in Dungarvan.  We are fortunate that we have details of their construction from the Vestry minutes dated 8 July 1795:
The several sums of Twelve pounds for an Iron-gate to the church-yard, and the sum of Eight pounds for finishing the flagging of the Ayles of the church, and completing the railing in of the Chancel & a new Communion table, and repairing the Church-yard wall & completing the Bulwark..

The cemetery contains one of the oldest remains of a non-domestic building in Dungarvan.  A surviving gable of the pre-Reformation parish church of St Mary the Virgin, records of which exist from the 1300s.  In the 17th century this church was mostly destroyed during the Cromwellian occupation of Dungarvan. The Dungarvan historian Charles Smith noted in 1746:
Formerly the Parish Church was a large building with a high steeple, but the whole was demolished by Cromwell. It is at present rebuilt on the ground where the chancel of the Old Church stood.

This 18th century building was replaced or rebuilt in the 1830s with a Gothic style church designed by James Pain and built with a grant from the Board of First Fruits.  The plans and elevations dated 1835 can be viewed on:  archdrawing.ireland.anglican.org However, planning for the church began in February 1825 when the vestry meeting approved a plan by James Pain to enlarge and improve the existing church.  It is possible that Pain did not start from scratch and in fact remodeled the existing structure.

The main gates have lost their central curlicue ornament which should be replaced.  There is also a smaller side gate of the same pattern.  The main gates hang from fine sandstone pillars. Unfortunately, this fine period piece is marred by poles and signs at present and their repositioning should be considered.

The iron railings with two gates which flank either side of the path through the cemetery were the subject of much controversy when they were erected in 1910.  This path was viewed as a right of way by locals, but the cemetery was being used to graze donkeys, horses, goats and mules and card playing on the tombs was a regular occurrence!  It was all the subject of a court case.

Drawing by W. Fraher

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 10 - Stairway to Enlightenment

Pupils on cast iron stairs of C.B.S. School, Dungarvan. c. 1910.

Stairway to Enlightenment

One of the most elaborate pieces of ironwork in Dungarvan is the unusual external staircase on the old Christian Brothers School.  Along with much of the cast ironwork around Dungarvan it was made by MacFarlane’s of Glasgow.  The pattern for this design can be seen in the companies’ catalogue.

The CBS school was built in 1834 to cater for the increasing number of pupils.  The original school at Shandon and another temporary one in Main Street were too small.  Fundraising for the school and for a new catholic parish church began in 1829 and was organized by the curate Father Patrick Fogarty.  Money was raised in Ireland, England and in France for both projects.  However, most of the money to erect the school was donated by Rev. Nicholas Foran, (P.P. of Dungarvan 1828-37) and created Bishop of Waterford in 1837.

Why is there an external stairs on the building?  The original staircase (built within a two-storey projection in the centre of the front facade) and parts of the building were in bad condition by 1895 and the brothers employed E. Flynn, a builder from Cork to survey the entire school.  He concluded that ‘the present unsafe stairs be entirely removed and that the upper schools be approached by one of cast-iron as in most two-storey schools’.  Work did not commence until the end of 1897 and was completed early the following year. 

The stairs became the perfect location for school photographs and there are several in the Waterford County Museum image archive showing pupils posing on and beneath it.

For further information on the history of the school see The Christian Brothers in Dungarvan 1807-1992- A Tribute by Tom Keith, 1996.

Engraving of the stair design from Mac Farlane's catalogue

Sketch by W. Fraher

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