Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Object of the Week - Bell from the 'Dunvegan' of Chatham

The Dunvegan was a three masted barque of 819 tons built in New Brunswick.  It was on its way from Barry Dock in Cardiff to New Orleans with coal and general cargo.

In January 1898 the ship went off course in a dense fog and crashed into rocks beneath the cliffs at Ballymacart Lower, Old Parish.  The Nugent family who lived nearby went to assist the stricken crew.             Mr. Nugent climbed down the cliff with a rope and eventually the captain and crew were all rescued. The captain gave the Nugent family the ship's clock as a thank you.

The wreck was purchased by    
Mr. Fuge of Glencorrin House, Ardmore. The bell was donated to the museum by the Miller family originally of Main Street, Dungarvan.

For further details see John Young's 'A Maritime & General History of Dungarvan 1690-1978'.

Object of the Week - Train Ticket Used by Risteard de Hindeburg (1863-1916) on 31st December 1902

Priest, Irish language activist, author, musician.  Richard Henebry was born on 18th September 1863 at Mount Bolton, Portlaw, Co. Waterford.

After his ordination as a priest in 1892 he spent some time in Greifswald and Freiburg where he obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy. In 1898 he was appointed to the post of Chair of Irish Celtic Studies at the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

When the National University of Ireland was founded in 1908 he was appointed professor of Irish in University College Cork.  He was also one of the founders of Coláiste na Rinne.

He suffered from tuberculosis and the climate in America suited him.  In December 1902 he travelled to Colorado Springs to stay with the Sisters of Charity at the Glockner Sanatorium.

Wednesday 25th January 2017, Illustrated Talk: The early development of creameries in Co. Waterford 1885-1935, by Dr. Proinnsias Breathnach

Our first talk of 2017 is on a theme which is sure to be of great interest, not only to the rural community in our county, but also to the town of Dungarvan itself where Waterford Co-op was situated.

All that remains of that industrious place is a statue which displays a man rolling a ten gallon churn which is situated where the entrance from Grattan Square to the Co-op was.

Those of you who have previously heard Dr. Proinnsias Breathnach (Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Geography at Maynooth University) will certainly be looking forward to this, his return visit.

People who still remember creameries generally associate them with co-operatives.  However, in their early years most creameries were privately owned, and this remained the case until the 1920's when government action saw all creameries being brought into co-operative ownership. The first creameries in Co. Waterford were established in the mid 1880's, and by 1900 there were some twenty three creameries in all, of which just two were co-operatives.  By 1920 the number of private creameries had fallen to just ten, but there were still only three co-ops.

This presentation gives an illustrated account of the early development of creameries in Co. Waterford, the main figures involved in their establishment, and how the creamery system in the county was transformed in the 1920's and 1930's.  This is a talk not to be missed, delivered in Proinnsias's own inimitable style and erudition.  Please note that this will take place in the theatre proper and not in the green room. 

Venue:          Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan

Date:             Wednesday, 25th January 2017

Time:             8pm  

Admission:   €5

Sir John Keane and Cappoquin House in time of war and revolution, by Glascott Symes

This is one of the booklets in the Maynooth Studies in Local History series.

This booklet is based on Mr. Symes' thesis for an MA in Historic House Studies at Maynooth University.

It is divided into chapters detailing Sir John Keane's life and war record, his involvement with the Co-op movement, membership of Waterford County Council, the farm worker's strike, the Senate and the Civil War and the burning of Cappoquin House.  The final chapter details the restoration of Cappoquin House after its destruction by fire on 19th February 1923.

Sir John Keane (1873-1956) inherited Cappoquin Estate at the age of 19 just as he entered the army. While he was serving in the Boer War his mother ran the estate.  After his marriage in 1907 to Eleanor Hicks Beach he settled in Cappoquin getting involved in public life.  At the outbreak of the First World War he rejoined the army.  When the Free State was established he accepted his nomination as a Senator and was a regular contributor to debates on many topics such as censorship, agriculture, and compulsory Irish.

Mr. Symes has managed to present a fascinating and detailed account of Senator Keane and his times within 60 pages, and also included a number of interesting photographs.

Museum Christmas Meal 2016

The Museum Christmas Meal which took place yesterday evening 15th December 2016 in the Park Hotel Dungarvan was a great success and was enjoyed by all.

Our thanks to the Park Hotel, and to all who helped to arrange this great event.

Happy Christmas to all, and very best wishes for 2017!

Object of the Week - 18th Century Rosary Beads

Silver cross and spheres with amber beads.

Early types of Rosary beads were composed of a set of 10 beads on a cord tied at one end in a knot or tassel.

These developed later into the more familiar type with the beads divided into decades with large and small beads.  The cross with a figure of Christ was placed where the knot and tassel would have been on earlier types.

17th and 18th century Rosaries have tubular silver crosses made from thin sheets of silver beaten flat and rolled. The figure of Christ (as depicted here) is often in a naive style and is soldered on to the tubular cross.  Over the figure there is usually a plaque with the initials INRI.

The beads can be made of an assortment of materials, silver, glass, ivory, wood, amber, bone and fruit stones.

Thursday 23rd February 2017 Concert - 'Message of Peace' Tour by Seán Tyrrell

Waterford County Museum is delighted to announce that Seán Tyrrell will kick off his 2017/18 'Message of Peace' tour of the USA, Canada and Australia here in Ireland in Dungarvan.

The tour will be going to Western Australia in February 2018 for the 150th anniversary of the sailing of the Hougoumont, the convict ship that took John Boyle O'Reilly, Abbeyside's Denis B. Cashman and the other Fenians to Australia.  Denis B. Cashman was one of the Fenians who played a prominent role in O'Reilly's life, and as a young man when arrested stated 'I am willing to die for Ireland'.

This tour marks Seán's return to Canada and the USA, so popular was his 'Message of Peace' tour that he was invited back there.

Seán's show maps the amazing life and incredible work of one of Ireland's lesser known heroes, John Boyle O'Reilly, and through the medium of song and story it paints a vivid picture of his journey from his boyhood in Dowth, enlistment as a Fenian, imprisonment and great escape from the penal colony in Fremantle.  He settled in Boston and became one of the most important Irishmen in America of his day.  It was here that Cashman later joined him and worked on the 'Pilot'.

This show will include great songs, storytelling, theatre and history in a relevant, humorous, heroic and  tragic manner.  It is the story of the life of a visionary, poet, rebel, freedom fighter and civil rights activist.

Songs in the show connect the history of the 19th century and modern times in a seamless way, and are drawn from a wide variety of sources including Oscar Wilde, Francis Ledwidge, Bob Dylan, Bobby Sands, John Lennon and many more.  Using an array of instruments, Seán weaves effortlessly between narrative, instrumental and song.

Seán's show has received rave reviews from people such as Paul Keating of the Irish Voice New York, the poet Dennis McSharry, Mike Considine of Notable Arts and Yachats Festival Oregon presenter David Bridson.

Tickets are on sale at the Museum on a first come first served basis, so don't miss out!

Venue:             Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan

Date:                Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time:                8pm

Admission:      €10

Object of the Week - War of Independence Service Medal

This medal was awarded to John O'Brien, Manamon, Lismore. He was active in Lismore Brigade from April 1916 to July 1921. He was quartermaster of the Lismore Company 1919 to 1920. He was also involved with the Cork No. 2 Brigade.  The O'Brien house was an open house for all Republicans.

In 1924 John left Ireland for Canada.  He eventually settled in the Bronx, New York and died there on May 27th 1949, and was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, Woodside.

New Book - 'The Post Office in Ireland: An Illustrated History'

An excellent new book has been published by Irish Academic Press called 'The Post Office in Ireland: An Illustrated History' by Stephen Ferguson.

The book is beautifully bound and printed, with many fascinating photographs, including some from Waterford County Museum's archives, one of which shows the interior of Dungarvan Post Office with three of the staff in 1904, and another with a caption mentioning the Dungarvan postmaster, printer, and cyclist  Edward Brenan showing two of the post office staff.

Available from all good retailers.

Object of the Week - Charcoal Iron Late 19th Century

A type of charcoal iron was used in China over a thousand years ago. The example illustrated here was produced in the 19th century and may have been manufactured in Germany.  It is made of cast iron with a wooden handle and a hinged lid.

The charcoal iron was heated by burning charcoal within the hollow body, with the fumes escaping through holes on each side.  The iron had to be moved back and forth in order to keep the charcoal embers burning.

Museum Christmas Party Night 2016 Details

The details for the Waterford County Museum Christmas Party Night 2016 have been confirmed and are as follows:

Venue:  Park Hotel Dining Room

Date:    Thursday 15th December 2016

Time:    7.15pm Meet in Bar for 7.30pm Sit Down in Dining Room

Cost:     €23 To Be Paid in Advance On or Before 8th December

Please phone or email the Museum to book your place on 058 45960 or info@waterfordmuseum.ie

Object of the Week - Macramé Bag Made by a Republican in Internment Camp

This bag was made by Patrick Ormond, Dungarvan while he was interned in Ballykinlar Camp.

The camp was situated near Dundrum Bay, Co. Down and was the first mass internment camp to be established by the British authorities in Ireland in December 1920.

A number of Dungarvan men were interned there including Dan Fraher.  They were housed in Hut 11, known as 'The Headquarters'.

The internees used their talents to organise craft classes, music, drama and sports events.  There is a copy of the camp newsletter 'Barbed Wire' and a play programme on display in the Museum.

On 9th December 1921, three days after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, all Republican prisoners were released.

'In sweet Ballykinlar
If you are a 'Shinner'
And the Fates they are kindly-or even so, so
In famed Hut Eleven, you're almost in Heaven
With the Senior Line Captain, alive alive oh!'

Museum Members Christmas Party 2016

The Museum Members Christmas Party 2016 is being arranged at present, and members will be notified of the details shortly.

Object of the Week - Dead Man's Penny Issued to Family of William Lewis of Dungarvan

This week's object is commonly known as the 'Dead Man's Penny'.  It is a memorial plaque which was issued after World War I to the next of kin of all those killed, in this case the family of William Lewis.  It is made of bronze and is about five inches in diameter which gave it a resemblance to the penny coin, hence the name.

William Lewis was born in Dungarvan to John and Mary Lewis, and was the husband of Mary Lewis of Davis Street, Dungarvan.  He was a private in the Royal Irish Regiment, 2nd Battalion, service number 7288.  He was previously with the Irish Guards.  He enlisted in Dungarvan and was killed in action aged 26 on 24th August 1914.  He is buried in St. Symphorien Military Cemetery in Belgium, grave or memorial reference II.B.13.

The plaque was designed by sculptor and medallist Edward Carter Preston (1885-1965).  The design depicts Britannia holding a trident beside a lion.  The designer's initials are above the front paw.  Britannia holds an olive wreath above a rectangular tablet which bears the name of the deceased.  No rank is given as it was agreed that no distinction should be made between those who died.

Two dolphins are depicted which symbolise Britain's sea power.  At the base a lion is tearing apart the German eagle.  Around the edge there is an inscription: 'He died for freedom and honour'.  On plaques issued to the six hundred women who were killed it was changed to 'She died...'

The plaques were cast at the Memorial Plaque Factory in Acton, London from 1919.  The plaques continued to be produced into the 1930's.  Along with the plaque the next of kin received a commemorative scroll from the King, and a letter.

Object of the Week - Merrick & Ruddell Souvenir Plaque

This is an example of souvenir ware made by W.H. Goss of Stoke-on-Trent.  The company was established by William Henry Goss and produced crested souvenirs in pottery from 1858 to 1939. Their pottery was popular and it was said that by the beginning of the 20th century almost 90% of homes in Britain had a piece of Goss china.

The example illustrated here is hand coloured and contains the Dungarvan Coat of Arms and a verse written by Adolphus Goss.  It also has an inscription: With Merrick & Ruddell's Compliments.  Goss mark on reverse shows it was made between 1888-1914.

Merrick & Ruddell was based on the site of the present Shaws department store in Main Street. Merrick & Ruddell opened their china and drapery shop in 1879.

Museum A.G.M.

The Museum A.G.M. was held recently and the following were elected -

New Committee:

Chairman -   Willie Fraher

Vice Chair -  Eddie Cantwell

Secretary -    Christina Flynn

Treasurer -    Mary Giblin

Committee Members:

Martin Whelan, Jim Shine, Tony Fitzgerald, Chrissy Knight, Dennis Barron, Tom Broderick, Paula Houlihan.


Membership fee €15 is now due.

Christmas Party:

Members Christmas Party is being arranged at present and members will be notified shortly.

Object of the Week - Plaster Bust of Charles Stuart Parnell made by S. Watson, Dublin, in 1887

The bust along with another of William O'Brien M.P. was ordered for the Council Chamber in June 1889.

When Parnell's affair with Katherine O'Shea became public it caused a huge scandal.  The Dungarvan Town Commissioners were not pleased and in early July 1891 the Borough Surveyor, Michael Beary proposed that the street name plate bearing Parnell's name be taken down.  On 17th July 1891 Thomas Power proposed that this bust of Parnell be removed from the Council Chamber.

The bust was put away and re-discovered in 1991 and put on display in the Museum.

On the centenary of Parnell's death in 1991 the Dungarvan Town Council erected a new street name sign with Parnell's name at Lower Main Street.

Object of the Week - Edmond Keohan's Camera

Edmond Keohan is one of the best known of the old Dungarvan Photographers.  He was from Tramore.  The first mention of him in Dungarvan appears in Slater's Directory of 1879 where he is listed as a confectioner of Main Street.

According to an advert in his 'History of Dungarvan' the business was established in 1875 at 17 Main Street. He probably started doing photography in the 1880's as a part time activity.  He advertised his photographic studio 'now open' in the Munster Express on 1st February 1896. His main business at the end of the 19th century consisted of a news agency, stationers and auctioneers. Much of his work was in portraiture but in his spare time he photographed Dungarvan's streets and buildings and set off on his bike to photograph the surrounding countryside.  He also did documentary work recording events as they happened.

He published a number of books including an album of views of Dungarvan and district, a booklet on Abbeyside Castle 'Abbeyside Castle (Historical & Descriptive Sketch)' 1916, printed by the Waterford News.

He had a great interest in local history and wrote the first history of Dungarvan in 1924: 'Illustrated History of Dungarvan', Waterford News, 1924.  An original first copy of the book is on display in the museum at present. It has much useful information especially on the 'Troubles' and many interesting photos.  He also produced a number of postcards of local views and events.

Wednesday 23rd November 2016 - Illustrated Lecture St. James's Church Stradbally and its Environs, with Cian Flaherty

We are delighted that Cian Flaherty has agreed to visit us and speak on the medieval parish church of Stradbally.  This will be the third lecture in our winter season.

Visitors to Stradbally cannot but be impressed with the 'post-card' little village, and indeed the unique St. James's Church which certainly holds some fascination for the visitor.

At the core of Cian's talk will be a discussion of the medieval parish of Stradbally; the present Church of Ireland church and the graveyard which surrounds both. There will be some intriguing stories, including the life and death of the 'White Vicar', as well as the fascinating link between the Ark of the Covenant and a former rector of Stradbally.

Cian Flaherty is from Stradbally and is a third year student at Trinity College Dublin.  His research focuses on the history and culture of mid Waterford.  He is currently writing a book on the Church of Ireland Parish Stradbally.

This talk will be delivered with Cian's great passion, enthusiasm, and humour.  You will be carried along on a journey of historical discovery with this most entertaining young Stradbally gentleman.

Not to be missed!  All are very welcome.

Venue:          Green Room, Town Hall Theatre, Friary Street, Dungarvan

Date:             Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Time:            8pm

Admission:  €5

Object of the Week - War of Independence Officer's Jacket

This War of Independence Officer's Jacket was worn by James Mansfield, Crobally, Old Parish. It carries the label of Dan Fraher Draper, Grattan Square, Dungarvan.

James was the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion Decies Brigade of the I.R.A. during the War of Independence and the Civil War.  He escaped to Canada after the ceasefire.

A detailed account of the Irish War of Independence from a local point of view including information about James, and one of his brothers, Michael, can be found on the Museum website www.waterfordmuseum.ie which includes the following incident:  For several months previous to January 1920, Captain King, who was the Police Inspector in Dungarvan, had been making a nuisance of himself.  He drove out to the Mansfield home and threatened to shoot Hannah Mansfield unless she informed on her sons.  A group of Dungarvan Volunteers took the Captain's car which was in a garage over half a mile from his house.  They then pushed it through the town to his front door where they drenched it with petrol and set it on fire.  Shortly afterwards the Captain was transferred to Mallow at his own request.  This little operation was carried out by Pax Whelan, Joe Wyse, George Lennon, Pat Lynch and Pat Power.  The fact that a group of Volunteers could destroy a policeman's car by fire in broad daylight in the centre of Dungarvan shows the power of the West Waterford Brigade at that time.

Illustrated Talk 'Diving the South East Shipwrecks' with Eoin McGarry

Our second lecture of the winter season 'Diving the South East Shipwrecks' with Eoin McGarry which was held in the Green Room of the Town Hall Theatre on Wednesday 19th October 2016 was a huge success and was very well attended.

Our thanks to Eoin for a very interesting and enjoyable talk. Our apologies to those who couldn't get a seat and had to stand outside the room.

Object of the Week - Cumann Lúth Chleas Ghael Medal

The Cumann Lúth Chleas Ghael hurling medal was awarded to Mick Foley in 1906.

Mick's father John was a native of Ballynageeragh, Dunhill, Co. Waterford.  The Foley family were originally from Ardmore.  John was a journeyman stonemason and he travelled around the countryside building cow byres and stables.  While carrying out work at Cunningham's farm at Boulatin he fell in love with the daughter of the house, Mary.

In 1876 they married in Kilrossanty. They lived on a farm at Killoteran, Butlerstown, by the River Suir. John used to obtain branches from ash trees at Mount Congreve Estate to make hurleys for his sons.

They became enthusiastic supporters of the Gaelic Athletic Association when it was founded in 1884.

John started a hurling team in Butlerstown, but this had to be disbanded because the authorities feared it was a meeting place for fenianism.

One of his sons, Mick, was an apprentice carpenter to his cousin, John Costin, in Waterford - 'In the evening when finished work he would hear 'the clash of the ash' across the River Suir at Luffany, Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny.  With his desire to play hurling Mick slipped into Mount Congreve Wood and spoke shaved a hurley.  With the hurley strapped to his back and a pair of plimsolls on his feet he swam across the River Suir to participate in the hurling game and had to swim back to the Waterford side in the dark of the night.'

In 1915 Mick Foley married Mary O'Brien of Lisnakill, Butlerstown, and they purchased a farm at Knockrower, Stradbally.  They tried to start a hurling team in Stradbally but Gaelic football was the preferred game in the area.

Thursday 27th October 2016 - Waterford County Museum A.G.M.

The Waterford County Museum A.G.M. will be on Thursday 27th October 2016 at 8pm at the Museum in Friary Street, Dungarvan.

All are welcome.

We hope to see as many of the Museum Society members as possible, as we value your input and ideas.

Historic Plaques in Grattan Square, Dungarvan

The first of the historic plaques have been installed in Grattan Square, Dungarvan.

These will illustrate people and events relating to Dungarvan from throughout the ages.

Object of the Week - Magic Lantern from the Presentation Convent, Dungarvan

The magic lantern was first invented in the 17th century.  A wooden frame housed a concave mirror in the back of a light source to direct as much light as possible through a small rectangular sheet of glass - a 'lantern slide' - which had an image painted on it, the image was projected onto a lens at the front.

After 1839 photographic images were projected with magic lanterns. An Argand lamp was used to light the image from the late 18th century. The invention of limelight in the 1820's resulted in a brighter image. The invention of the electric arc lamp in the 1860's was a safer method of lighting the lantern.

The popularity of magic lanterns declined after the introduction of moving picture film in the 1890's but they were widely used in education until slide projectors became common in the 1950's.

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.

Visit of Anne Farrelly, Secretary of the Friends of the National Collections

The secretary of the Friends of the National Collections, Anne Farrelly, along with Adrian Farrelly visited the Museum on 29th August 2016.

They viewed the portrait of Claude Chavasse which has been given on long term loan by the Friends of the National Collections, for which we are grateful.

This is the second painting given by the Friends, the other being the landscape by Sarah Purser.
William Fraher, Waterford County Museum, with Anne and Adrian Farrelly.

'The Way it Was' An Exhibition of Old Photographs of the Copper Coast September 2016

A unique exhibition of old photographs of the Copper Coast from John Joe Cleary and Waterford County Museum 'The Way it Was', will take place in the Copper Coast Geopark Visitor Centre during the month of September.

This visual record has been drawn together from a collection of photographs taken by John Joe Cleary, Bunmahon, and his family.  Bridge O'Sullivan, staff member at Waterford County Museum, selected a group of images from the Museum's archive and these are on show with images supplied by John Joe Cleary.

The images provide a fascinating record of the daily lives of the people of the Copper Coast, and rural life in Ireland from the 1890's onwards.

Julian Walton will officially open the exhibition in the Copper Coast Geopark Visitor Centre at 3pm on Saturday 3rd September.  Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Death of Museum Society Member Mr. Harry Courcha August 2016

We were saddened to hear of the death of Museum Society Member Mr. Harry Courcha.

Harry was a native of England and settled in Old Parish.  He had a great interest in history and in particular Dungarvan and West Waterford.

Object of the Week - Purple Heart

John F. Mansfield (1906-1965) was born at Ballinroad, Old Parish, Co. Waterford on 6th February 1906 to James and Bridget Mansfield (nee Power).

John emigrated to America in 1924. Just before the Second World War he enlisted in the American army and served with the 4th Armoured Division - Third Army, from its founding in April 1942 until he ended up in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in May 1945.

This Division was the spearhead attack from Normandy right into Germany and was known as ‘Paton’s Pride & Joy’, having had the most days in combat of any unit of the Third Army. John was wounded twice and decorated on several occasions.

He received an honourable discharge on 19th October 1945 and he settled in New York where he died on 1st July 1965.

Awards Received:

Purple Heart with cluster after being wounded at Normandy and Metz.

Bronze Star for valour at the Battle of the Bulge.

European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon.

Occupation of Germany Medal.

American Defence Medal.

Good Conduct Medal.

Ogham Workshop for Heritage Week Took Place 25th August 2016

The Ogham Workshop given by Dr. Nora White in the museum last week was a great success.

Many children and adults attended the event.

Nora gave a short powerpoint presentation about ogham stones in Co. Waterford which can be found at Knockboy, Dromlohan and Ardmore.

After the talk the children participated in the workshop, colouring and inscribing their name in Ogham.

At the conclusion all the children were given goody bags to take away.

(Photos to follow)

New Book with Cappagh Links

Hetty Staples (neé Ussher) has just published a booklet of her short stories and about her early life at Cappagh House where she grew up.  She turned 90 this year.

Hetty, or Henrietta, is the daughter of the noted writer and philosopher Arland Ussher (1899-1980).

Arland learned Irish in Ring and published two volumes of stories in Irish collected from Pat Murray, the ploughman at Cappagh: Caint an tSean-Shaoghail (1942) and Cursaí an tSean-Shaoghail (1948).

Ms. Staples has forwarded a copy of her book for the museum archive.

Talk, "A Tale of Two Towns", 25th August 2016.

John Martin will explore the historic development of Dungarvan and Youghal in "A Tale of Two Towns" in Dungarvan Town Hall Theatre, on Thursday 25th August 2016 at 7.30pm.

In what promises to be a very interesting talk, John will discuss the towns' Viking and Norman origins, both were (and are) ports, and both were Devonshire Estate towns.

John is currently researching the Dungarvan Historic Town Atlas for the Royal Irish Academy, due for publication by 2018.

Venue: Dungarvan Town Hall Theatre

Date:    Thursday 25th August 2016

Time:   7.30pm

Sat 13th August 2016 Free Children's Art Event At Gallow's Hill

Gallow's Hill Arts & Craft Morning For Children

Help us prepare for Heritage Week 2016 at Gallow's Hill Medieval Fort, Dungarvan on Saturday 13th August, 9.30am - 12pm. 
Children of all ages are welcome to take part.

Local artists will work with children to create a historic chalk mural of Dungarvan’s epic Viking/Norman battle in 1174 and lots more arts and crafts.
Dungarvan’s men’s shed will unveil a full size medieval stock they have been very busy creating in time for Heritage week. 
Demonstration in the use of aerial kite photography for surveying archaeological sites.

More info: 058 45960 or info@waterfordmuseum.ie

Gallowshill Mediaeval Fair will take place Sunday 28th August 12pm - 4pm. The results of the final 2016 archaeological surveys will be revealed on site at 3pm.  This year’s surveys have been funded by The Heritage Council of Ireland.

The Mayor to Launch a New Exhibition on the Women of 1916

The Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Adam Wyse will launch Mná 1916-Women 1916, a special touring exhibition featuring previously unseen material from private and public collections, at 11am on Saturday August 20th in Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford City.  Also speaking on the morning is author and historian Sinéad McCoole who curated the exhibition.

Mná 1916-Women 1916 is an initiative of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.  The exhibition brings together previously unseen material documenting the 300 women involved in the Rising.  It is on a nationwide tour following a three week run at Dublin Castle.

As well as the familiar faces of those involved in the events of 1916, Mná 1916 brings many new stories to light in a unique and powerful way.  While there is a focus on women who took part in the Rising, the exhibition also seeks to give a fuller understanding of the complex history of Ireland at that time.

Waterford City & County Librarian Jane Cantwell, who is coordinating the Waterford Ireland 2016 Programme, said that the Library service is delighted to welcome Sinéad McCoole to speak at the Waterford launch:

"Sinéad and her team have created an important exhibition telling the fascinating stories of 300 women who played a part in 1916.  On behalf of the Waterford 1916 Commemoration Committee, we are delighted to host this exhibition in Waterford during this centenary year.  Visitors to the exhibition can explore this remarkable variety of previously unseen items, from personal objects, images and documentation, to newly digitized birth, death, marriage and census records.  This exhibition is a very welcome part of our programme of events commemorating 1916 throughout Waterford City and County."

Exhibition curator Sinéad McCoole, who is looking forward to visiting Waterford explains:

"'State assets' and 'national treasures' are often terms used about items of great value, big houses with demesne and gold objects - this centenary year in this exhibition we have been able to use assets and treasures of a different sort dating to 1916 from the national collections, from libraries, archives, museums all over the country.  The assistance of curators, archivists, historians and local studies librarians has made this exhibition possible.  Online resources and digitizing of documents and images meant that this would not have been possible a decade ago."

All are welcome to attend.  The exhibition runs until Saturday September 10th 2016, during normal library opening hours, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-5.30pm, Wednesday 10am-8pm and Saturday 10am-1pm and 2pm -5.30pm.

Venue: Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford City.

Date:   Saturday August 20th 2016

Time:  11am  

Recent Visitors to Waterford County Museum

John Harty and Katherine Harty from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, recently visited the museum.

John is the great grandson of Major William Egan, Royal Army Medical Corps, (born 1881, Dungarvan, died 1929, Jamaica).

The Egan family photos can be viewed on the Waterford County Museum image archive.

John Harty & Katherine Harty of Nenagh, with Willie Fraher of Waterford County Museum, August 9th 2016.

Annual Book Sale

A big thank you to all those who supported our annual fund-raising book sale 28th July to 30th July 2016.  It was a great success with many bargains to be had.

Special thanks to Dan McCarthy for allowing the use of his premises, to Sean Organ of WLR, to all who donated books, to the sorters, volunteers, and all those who purchased books.

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