Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Spooky Halloween Event at the Museum

Come and visit the Museum and find the creepy objects hidden in the display cases around the Museum, make a witch, colouring and more.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Venue: Waterford County Museum, Friary Street, Dungarvan

Date:    Friday 28th October and from Tuesday 1st November to Friday 4th November 2016

Time:   10am to 5pm

Object of the Week - Keys of the Fever Hospital and Board Room, Kilmacthomas Workhouse

The workhouse building in Kilmacthomas was built at a later date than most of those around the country.  It was built in 1851 on the townland of Carriganonshagh (Rock of the Female Idiots).

The building was designed by George Wilkinson.  Before the construction of the building people were sent to the workhouses in Waterford or Dungarvan.

The land was purchased from Mr. Power O'Shea of Gardenmorris House, Kill.  The workhouse was designed to house 600 inmates.

The workhouse closed in September 1919 and the remaining inmates were transferred to Dungarvan and Lismore.  It was taken over as a barracks by Republicans in 1922.

For a detailed account see 'The Comeraghs - Famine, Eviction and Revolution' by Seán and Síle Murphy.

Wednesday 19th October 2016 - Illustrated Lecture 'Diving the South East Shipwrecks' with Eoin McGarry

An illustrated talk will take place in the Green Room at the Town Hall Theatre in Dungarvan which is the second in our winter lecture season, with Dungarvan diver Eoin McGarry who is now recognised as one of the best technical salvage divers in the world.  We are delighted that he has agreed to speak for us once again.

Experts in the field who have worked with Eoin in the deep will attest that his engineering skills when working at tremendous depths must be seen to be believed. He has spearheaded entire operations. He is also the diver who made headlines several years ago by bringing back the 'smoking gun' evidence from the wreck of the liner RMS Lusitania which lies in almost 300 feet of water, a technical diving operation which has been compared to the arduousness of working in outer space.

Eoin is a highly qualified and respected diver in both the national and international diving scene. He has been diving for up on 25 years and is passionate about wreck diving in particular.  He has led many dive expeditions and recovery operations, some of those have included a documentary with National Geographic on the Lusitania, ammunition and artefact recovery from the Lusitania, recovery of anchors from Roger Casement's gunrunning ship the Aud, and recovery of the wheel and compass from the lost sail training vessel the Asgard II sunk in the Bay of Biscay.  Eoin's exploits have been well covered by radio and television and shown all over the world.

The talk is going to cover a number of local shipwrecks which will be of tremendous interest to Dungarvan people.  Eoin will also elaborate on the centenary dive on the Lusitania, and the recovery of the anti-submarine gun from the Folia.

This is an opportunity to meet, and indeed chat with a Dungarvan man who is recognised as one of the greatest divers in his field in the world.

Venue:         Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan

Date:           19th October 2016

Time:           8pm 

Admission: €5

Museum on 'Ancient East' Sign

A new sign has just been erected opposite the entrance to Dungarvan Castle showing heritage sites around West Waterford, including the Museum.

Object of the Week - Brass Handle from Wrecked Train at Ballyvoile Viaduct

The attack on the Ballyvoile Viaduct took place on 8th August 1922, two weeks before the end of the Civil War.  The third and fourth arches from the Waterford end were destroyed by explosives placed beneath the track.  Over the following weeks all of the remaining arches collapsed except one.

On 20th/21st January 1923 a works train was repairing the line near Durrow and the train was captured by Republicans, and the workmen were ordered to leave, and the driver was ordered to start the train sending it west towards the destroyed viaduct at Ballyvoile.  When the train arrived at Ballyvoile it plunged 70 feet into the valley below landing upside down.

The brass handle in the photograph stamped G.S.W.R. is from the train. Dungarvan photographer Edmond Keohan captured the scene of the destruction.

Talk 'The Nire Valley - All Walls and No Ditches' on 21st September 2016

In our first talk of the winter season Maura Barret gave a fascinating talk on the Nire Valley.  She went through the history, folklore, archaeology and landscape of the area.  Her talk was illustrated with impressive images of the landscape in all seasons.

It was a very enjoyable night, and a lively question and answer session followed.

Object of the Week - Four Miles Bicycle Race Cup

The Object of the Week is the Four Miles Bicycle Race Cup. On the front the cup says 'Four Miles Bicycle Race at Dungarvan, September 1869, Winner, Richard Edward Brenan'.  On the back it says 'Richard Edward Brenan, Winner at The Four Mile Bicycle Races at Dungarvan, on September 1870 and September 1871.'

Four Miles Bicycle Race Cup
The cup was rediscovered in 1984 by Father Columba O'Donnell O.S.A. at the Augustinian House in Main Street, Dungarvan and presented to the Museum.

The first cycling club to open in Ireland was established in Dungarvan in 1869. Its founder was Richard Edward Brenan (1846-1917), postmaster, bookseller, photographer and printer of Grattan Square, Dungarvan. The Headquarters of the club was at Brenan's house on the Square. In 1880 there were 28 members, but by the 1920's the club was disbanded.

Brenan first became interested in cycling when as a boy he saw an advert for a bicycle in a French Newspaper and he was determined to buy it.  His father contributed £5 towards the cost.

His next bicycle was an 'improved bone shaker' ordered from Robinsons of Dublin.  Later he purchased an Irish manufactured bike form Neals of Dublin - 'We Young Irelanders of that period took great pride in our home manufactured mounts.'

In 1868 Brenan set off on what we think is the first documented cycling holiday in Ireland travelling from Dungarvan, through Youghal, Midleton, Queenstown, Blarney and onwards.

The first organised bicycle race in Dungarvan was held in September 1869.  The four mile race was won by Brenan.  The following year they held a four mile race to Barnawee Bridge.  'Thousands of spectators turned up to watch the novel spectacle and the race day was treated as a public holiday; the R.I.C. offered their services in keeping the roads free of traffic, which was partly accomplished by Sub Inspector Edmond McDermott and several magistrates (including Henry Edward Redmond) riding before and behind the cyclists on their horses.  Some of the magistrates almost ran down the competitors in their zeal, and the sub-inspector twice nearly ran over R.E. Brenan, County Inspector John Loch wagered £10 that Brenan could defeat a local favourite, a land agent named Shaw; the policeman won his bet, but it was a close affair, as the powerfully built Shaw put his machine across his back after he had been passed by Brenan and took a short cut across some fields to establish a lead, but Brenan still managed to overtake him.  Some of the soldiers of the 67th Regiment who took their tunics off were able to keep pace with the racers for most of the route.

The photographer Edmund Keohan was a member of the cycling club.

Talk - 'Thomas Francis Meagher and the Meaghers of Ballycanvan'

There will be a talk presented by James Andrew Doherty on the subject of Thomas Francis Meagher and the Meaghers of Ballycanvan at Jack Meades, Halfway House on Wednesday 21st September at 8pm.  James is a local historian and is an active member of the Thomas Francis Meagher Flag Committee.

All very welcome.

Venue: Jack Meades, Halfway House

Date:   21st September 2016

Time:   8pm

Cost:    €5

History Event at Dromana - 'From the Blackwater to the Nile: Aventurers, Scholars and Travel Writers.'

On Sunday 16th October 2016 there will be a history event at Dromana 'From the Blackwater to the Nile: Adventurers, Scholars and Travel Writers.'

There will be lunch at 12.30pm, opening by Her Excellency Soha Gendi the Egyptian Ambassador to Ireland at 2pm, harp recital by Una Whyte at 2.15pm, lectures by Dr. Rachel Finnegan and Willie Fraher at 2.30pm, closing at 4pm.

The cost is €40 per person or €70 for two.

Dr. Rachel Finnegan:

Richard Pococke

This illustrated presentation tells of the Egyptian travels, writings and 'curious' collections of the pioneering Egyptologist, Dr. Richard Pococke (1704-1765).

On his return from the East, which included two lengthy sojourns in Egypt, Pococke settled briefly in London, where he worked on his famous book 'A Description of the East' (1743), a scholarly and very visual account of the history, culture and geography of Egypt.  After his publication of a second volume (1745), which covered the rest of his Eastern travels, he was appointed Archdeacon of Dublin and took up residence in Ireland.  Over the next few years, he undertook several tours of the country, which he recorded in his travel diary.  This included a tour of County Waterford, in 1752, when he visited the grounds of Dromana House.

In 1756 he was translated as Bishop of Ossory, and both in his Dublin residence and the Bishop's Palace in Kilkenny, he entertained his visitors with lectures on Egyptology and viewings of his unusual collection of Egyptian antiquities and natural curiosities.

William Fraher:

Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart & Egypt

This presentation focuses on Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart, and will explore Henry's visits to Egypt, his exploration of its monuments and the collection of artefacts he amassed.

Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart was born on 13th September 1827, the son of Henry Villiers-Stuart (1803-1874) of Dromana House, 1st Baron Stuart de Decies and Theresia Pauline Ott of Vienna.  In 1850 he was ordained a minister and was appointed vicar of Bulkington, Warwickshire in 1852.  He paid his first visit to Egypt in 1849 and again in 1858/59 with the intention of visiting sites mentioned in the Bible.

Villiers-Stuart visited Egypt with his wife Mary from the autumn of 1878 to March 1879 and published the result of his investigations in 'Nile Gleanings, concerning the Ethnology, History and Art of Ancient Egypt.'  The book was illustrated with his own drawings.

After the battle of Tel-el-Kebir the British government appointed Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart to accompany Lord Dufferin's delegation to visit Egypt and report on the condition of the people.  His reports were published in a series of blue books.  In 1883 he published an illustrated overview of his observations, interspersed with accounts of Egyptian antiquities in 'Egypt After the War' (1883).  In his introduction he states that he hoped it would help to 'emancipate the oppressed classes in Egypt... My sympathies are with the mass of the people of Egypt.  I have faith in their capabilities, if only a fair chance be given to them; they are industrious and intelligent.'

Henry was vociferous in campaigning for the preservation of Egyptian monuments which were being damaged by man and nature.  Like many others he did collect Egyptian artefacts and brought them back to his home in Dromana.

Venue:  Dromana House, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford.

Date:    Sunday 16th October 2016.

Time:    12.30pm.

Cost:     €40 per person or €70 for two.

Wednesday 21st September 2016 - Illustrated Lecture 'The Nire Valley - All Walls and No Ditches

The first lecture of the winter season 'The Nire Valley - All Walls and No Ditches', an illustrated lecture by Maura Barret, will take place in the Green Room at the Town Hall Theatre in Dungarvan. Admission €5.

Venue: Town Hall Theatre Green Room.

Date:    21st September 2016

Time:   8pm

Object of the Week - Penal Cross, Co. Waterford

Penal crosses were devotional artefacts mainly made of wood.  Their name derives from the fact that they were contemporaneous with the Penal Laws period.  The cross was an important symbol for Catholics whose religion was under threat.  They date from the early 18th and the mid 19th centuries.

These penal crosses have been associated with pilgrims visiting Lough Derg where a group of local carvers produced the crosses as souvenirs.

These crosses were carved in a simple naive style with a crude carved figure of Christ.  They are often dated on the reverse.

The example illustrated here from the Museum collection depicts the figure of Christ with a halo and above this the letters INRI - Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum - Jesus the Nazerene, the King of the Jew.

On the reverse is the date 1818 and the letters IHS - Iesus Huios Sother - Jesus, Son, Saviour.  It has a loop on top allowing it to be worn around the neck.

'The Way it Was' Exhibition Opening at the Copper Coast Geopark

Julian Walton, John Joe Cleary, Bridge O'Sullivan
Julian Walton officially opened 'The Way it Was', an exhibition of old photographs of the Copper Coast, in the Copper Coast Geopark Visitor Centre on Saturday 3rd September 2016.  The opening was well attended.

This is an exhibition of photographs taken by John Joe Cleary from Bunmahon and his family, and from Waterford County Museum's archive selected by staff member Bridge O'Sullivan.  The exhibition is open for the month of September.

See www.coppercoastgeopark.com

Julian Walton, Catherine Kavanagh, Bridge O'Sullivan.

John Galloway, Julian Walton, Eddie Cantwell

Gallowshill Medieval Fair 28th August 2016

A great day was enjoyed by all at the Gallowshill Medieval Fair in hot sunshine on Sunday 28th August 2016.
The children enjoyed the Viking Battle!
The volunteers at the Medieval Fair!
Photos by John Foley.

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