Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Heritage Week At The Museum

A Group Of People Outside The  Devonshire Hotel, Dungarvan Circa 1900
On Saturday the August 21 museum curator William Fraher gave an illustrated talk titled Dungavan Businesses from Days Gone by as part of Heritage Week. The talk which illustrated the many shop fronts in the town as they were in years past was followed by a tour around the town to see the same premises as they stand today.  The talk and tour were very well received and enjoyed by the participants.

Power's Bakery Staff Outside The Premises At O'Connell Street, Dungarvan 1930

Dungarvan Ramblers - The First Cycle Club in Ireland

The Dungarvan Ramblers Cycling Club

On the 28th and 29th August 2010 the Sean Kelly Tour of Co. Waterford will take place. Dungarvan has an important place in the annals of Irish cycling history. Cyclists partaking in the tour are welcome to visit the museum free of charge to see the historic cup from the first bicycle race held in Ireland or the United Kingdom which is now on view in the museum. The museum is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and in Summer we open on Saturday's from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is free.

The Dungarvan Rambler's Cycling Club was founded in 1869 by Richard Edward Brenan (1846-1917). He was the Postmaster based in Grattan Square, he was also a printer and bookseller. Other hobbies included local history and photography and many of his glass plates are now in the Museum's photographic collection.

The Cyclist's Guide to the South East published in 1903 had the following observation:

'In the Co of Waterford we claim the oldest cycling club in Ireland - The Dungarvan Ramblers C.C., started in 1869. In that year the first cycle race for a challenge cup held in this or any other country, was run under the auspices of the club, and it was won by Mr R. Edward Brenan, the present Postmaster of Dungarvan, who is as proud of the Trophy as if it were a collar of gold.'

The cup was lost for many years until rediscovered in 1984 by Father Columba O'Donnell O.S.A. at the Augustinian house in Main Street and they kindly donated it to the Museum. The cup has the following inscriptions:
  • Four Mile Bicycle race at Dungarvan, September 1869 Winner - Richard Edward Brenan
  • Mr R.E. Brenan, winner of the Four Mile Bicycle races at Dungarvan 19 September 1870 and 5 September 1871
A local tourist magazine published in 1903 published the following article on Brenan:

'The Rambler's Cycling Club, the oldest in the Kingdom, is in full swing once more. We hope the club will organise a sports carnival this year. Our old friend Mr R. E. Brenan, is the oldest cyclist in Ireland, not the oldest in point of years, but the oldest in cycling experience. He began his riding in 1867 on a boneshaker and actually won the first race ever run for a valuable cup, which is still to be seen in his splendid library. He is still an ardent cyclist, and every member of his family enjoys the invigorating pastime.'

In 1901 Brenan wrote to The Leader magazine about their claim that there were no Irish manufactured bicycles before 1900:

'This is incorrect, as I have in my bicycle stable an old wooden wheeled bicycle built by Neale of Dublin, fully 30 years ago. I think afterwards, as most clever Irishmen have done, emigrated. I regret to say that in the 34 years of cycling this has been the only bicycle of Irish manufacture that I have possessed ... I hope yet to ride an Irish cycle.'

Why The Horrible Histories DVD Is So Important

One Of The Stars Of Horrible Histories
One of the greatest challenges faced by any local history organisation is regenerating itself with 'new members'.

At Waterford County Museum we have chosen to expend quite a bit of our members time and scarce museum resources on children's events. At some point it is hoped that these kids will be the museum members and community activists of the future. If we can give a few of them an interest or enthusiasm for Waterford history they will become the standard bearers for their community's heritage.

My opinion is that a passion for history is something that one normally picks up early in life. Even if you drift from your early enthusiasm as 'life gets in the way' you can always rekindle the love affair in later life. My own interest in history came about when a friend of my father gave me an encyclopedia about World War 2 and was further enhanced by reading large quantities of Commando, Warlord and Battle comics as a child.

Anything that can get kids interested in history has got to be a good thing. My 5 year old daughter has recently developed a passion for the Horrible Histories™ TV series. All 13 episodes of the first series are now available on DVD at a low price from Amazon.co.uk and from Amazon.com

The series is described as 'History with the nasty bits left in! Based on the best-selling series of books for kids (and for adults, but they just won’t admit it), Horrible Histories is an anarchic, surprising and unconventional take on history’s most gruesome and funny moments.'

This DVD is produced by the BBC and is not to be confused with the cartoon series also based on the Horrible Histories™. These DVDs are not on a par with the BBC production.

Some of the humour is ribald and fake gore abounds but as a primer to spark an interest in history I don't think you could do better. The only caveat I would place on the purchase is that it is very Anglocentric, for an Irish audience this won't be so much of a problem but for other countries some of the history may be unfamiliar.

Link: Horrible Histories YouTube Channel

Children's Museum Event

 Children Making Pinhole Cameras

The children's camera workshop held last Saturday was a great success. Staff member Noelle Drohan explained the history of the camera and the examples on display. Tony Hayes showed the children how to make a pinhole camera. There was an opportunity to handle an antique stereoscopic viewer and a viewmaster which showed 3D images. Thanks to Helen, Noelle and Tony for organising the event.

Children's Photographic Workshop

Saturday 7th August 2010
2pm - 3pm
Waterford County Museum, St. Augustine Street, Dungarvan

Admission Free All Are Welcome
All materials are provided. Best pin hole camera wins a framed Edmond Keohan photograph.

This is a great event for all of the family and an ideal way for children to get an introduction to the history of our locality and the science of photography. They will also find out that 3D existed before Toy Story and Avatar.

Fund Raising Variety Concert: Bachelors in Trouble Go Wild in Dungarvan

"A variety concert with a difference! From the sublime to the ridiculous!"

Date: September 8th 2010 at 8pm sharp!
Tickets: 10 Euro
Venue: Town Hall Theatre, Friary Street, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

A Night of music, Song, Poetry, Story and dance featuring some well known, and some new talent! Whatever your taste, you will find it on the night! Be prepared for surprises! Sample the new local brew courtesy of Dungarvan Brewing Company. Have a cup of tea and a chat...what more can one ask for? All in aid of Waterford County Museum.

Among those contributing their talent to this special fund-raising event...
  • The remarkable Comeraghs Comhaltas Cúil Cheoil
  • Kevin Evans Of 'The Orchard' fame
  • Everyone's favourite historian, Julian Walton
  • The voice himself - Seán Ó Donnell
  • A touch of nostalgia with Declan Terry
  • The unique talent that is Joe Power
  • Poet Laureate, Liam Lynch
  • and a very special appearance by Waterford hurling legend 'Dan The Man' Shanahan, in a very unusual role.
Book your tickets for just 10 Euro Book now at Waterford County Museum, Friary Street, Dungarvan. (Opposite the Friary Church)
Phone: 058 45960
Email: history@waterfordmuseum.ie

Our thanks to all of the performers and supporters of this event who are giving their time free of charge. The museum is a community group and it depends on the help of the community to keep going. It is gratifying to see the amount of support our institution is receiving. A special thanks to museum committee member Eddie Cantwell who has been responsible for organising this event almost single handedly from start to finish.

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