Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Object of the Week - Leather Hat Box, 19th Century

This hat box is stamped with the maker's name 'Wiseman, Saddler, Auckland'. The saddlery firm was founded in 1861 by James and Alexander Wiseman.

There is an owner inscription on the brass lock 'Mr John Bell, V.S., Clonmel'. Bell was a veterinary surgeon who lived at Abbey Street, Clonmel.

West Waterford Festival of Food April 2017 Launch of New Exhibition in Waterford County Museum - 'Picturing Childhood'

Waterford County Museum has launched a new exhibition 'Picturing Childhood', drawing on images from the Museum's extensive archives, featuring childhood from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century.

This exhibition will open during the West Waterford Festival of Food, and will then continue during normal Museum opening hours.  All very welcome.


Venue:          Waterford County Museum, Friary Street, Dungarvan.

Date/Time:    Friday 21st April 2017 10am-5pm
                      Saturday 22nd April 2017 1pm-5pm
                      Sunday 23rd April 2017 1pm-5pm
                      Thereafter during normal Museum opening hours 10am-5pm Monday to Friday 

Admission:   Free


Museum staff members Bridge O'Sullivan, Danny Kiely, Michael Fitzgerald.

Museum staff members Danny Kiely, Michael Fitzgerald, Bridge O'Sullivan.

Object of the Week - Angel on Painted Canvas Formerly in Abbeyside Church, Early 20th Century

This fragment of painted canvas was part of an elaborate scheme which was fixed to the wall behind the high altar in Abbeyside Church.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries this type of detailed decoration in canvas, but more often stencilled or painted, was common in most churches and it can be seen in old photographs of Abbeyside Parish Church, and St. Augustine's and St. Mary's in Dungarvan.  We have no information on who carried out the work in Abbeyside.

The painted canvas was removed during major renovations to the church in 1972.

21st to 23rd April 2017 - Local Historic Photographic Exhibition

There will be an exhibition of photographs from the Tomás agus Kathleen Walsh Collection in association with Helvic Head Lifeboat Station.

Venue:              Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club

Dates/Times:    Friday 21st April 2017 at 8pm, Saturday 22nd at 11am, Sunday 23rd at 11am    

New Exhibition - 'Picturing Childhood'

We are currently preparing a new exhibition titled 'Picturing Childhood', drawing on images from the Museum's extensive archives featuring childhood from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century.

This exhibition will open during the West Waterford Festival of Food and will continue during normal Museum opening hours.  Admission is free.

Object of the Week - Illuminated Address Presented to Canon Denis Whelan D.D. by the Students of St. John's College, Waterford, 1919

The address was presented to Canon Whelan to mark his departure to take up a new post as Parish Priest of Kilsheelan.  The address notes that he was thirty years in St. John's College holding the posts of Dean, Professor, and President of the college from 1910 to 1919.  It is signed by David Power, Andrew McGrath, John Hickey and Patrick Reddin.

Canon Whelan was a member of the Augustinian Order, hence the photographs of Abbeyside Church and the Friary Church which are attached to the address.  Canon Whelan died in 1934.

Sunday 7th May 2017, History Day at Dromana House, Cappoquin - 'The Arts and High Politics: Winston Churchill-Ireland'

On Sunday 7th May 2017, there will be a history day at Dromana House, Cappoquin, with talks by guest speakers Aurelia Young - 'Churchill's Favourite Sculptor: The unconventional life of Oscar Nemon; husband of Patricia Villiers-Stuart and friend of Winston Churchill', Mark Leslie - 'The Prime Minister's Speech', Peter Murray - 'Whatever is to be is written: The life and art of Clare Sheridan', and Dr. Martin Mansergh - 'Dev and Churchill: Conflicting perspectives on Ireland's place in British-Irish relations'.

For further details visit dromanahouse.com/events/, email info@dromanahouse.com, booking is essential.

Object of the Week - 'Patent Agate Balance' Beam Scales by W & T Avery, Birmingham, 19th Century

These scales were used in Walsh's Tobacconists, Main Street, Dungarvan.  The Walsh family took over from the Carbery's in the production and selling of tobacco in Dungarvan.

Slater's Directory of 1879 lists John Walsh, Main Street, as a tobacco manufacturer.  Egan's Guide 1894 noted that the business was run by Mary Walsh who also made snuff.

The shop and living quarters were on the site of the present Garvey's Supermarket.  Thom's Directory 1909 notes Matthew Walsh as a 'Grocer & Spirit Merchant, Tobacco & Snuff Manufacturer'.

By 1924 they had opened a shop at the corner of Mary Street and Grattan Square.

Railway Heritage Photographic Exhibition at Kilmacthomas Library

This exhibition, curated by Andy Kelly in conjunction with Waterford County Museum, will continue during normal opening hours at Kilmacthomas Library.  Museum staff members Bridge O'Sullivan, Michael Fitzgerald and Brian O'Donnell assisted in the gathering of photographic items and organisation of this exhibition.

Object of the Week - Souvenir Ware c. 1920's

This Dungarvan souvenir cup and saucer is stamped SS which probably indicates that it was made by Sampson Smith Ltd., of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, England, who were in business from 1846 to 1963.

These souvenir items were sold in shops such as Merrick & Ruddell in Main Street, Dungarvan.

Waterford Greenway Official Opening

The official opening of the Waterford Greenway will take place on Saturday 25th March 2017 between 12 noon and 4 pm.

Waterford County Museum in conjunction with Andy Kelly will have a photographic exhibition at Kilmacthomas Library.

A small selection of railway memorabilia is on display in Waterford County Museum daily.

March Lecture

Dr. Christina Henri with William Fraher & Eddie Cantwell of Waterford County Museum. 
Waterford County Museum's March lecture last Wednesday 15th March 2017 given by Dr. Christina Henri from Australia, 'Roses from the Heart' an Irish/Australian Story, was a great success.

Our thanks to Dr. Christina Henri and to all who helped to arrange the lecture.


Object of the Week - Wooden Cylindrical Butter Churn c. Early 20th Century

This c. early 20th century butter churn from Mount Melleray is marked 'New Style White Cedar Cylinder Churn'.

Milk would be poured in through the opening in the top of the churn, the top would then be closed and the milk beaten by a wooden frame inside by turning the crank handle until the butter was made.

After churning, when the butter was thick and ready for moulding, it was washed, sometimes salted, and then shaped with butter pats.

April 23rd to 26th 2017 Museum Member's Annual Trip

The Museum Member's trip this year is to the 4 star Glenview Hotel in the Glen of the Downs in Co. Wicklow.  The trip includes B & B, 3 evening meals, leisure centre, bus for 4 days, entrance fee to all visits, including Russborough House, Avoca, Glendalough, Wicklow Gaol, and Avondale which includes the home of Charles Stewart Parnell.

Leaving Dungarvan Sunday 23rd April at 3pm (bus collection point to be confirmed), arriving back in Dungarvan early Wednesday evening 26th April.

The price is €290 double/twin per person sharing, €380 single (single supplement of €30 per night).

Object of the Week - Butter Carton from Knockmeal Co-operative Creamery Ltd., Ballinamult

Knockmeal Co-op was originally called Ballinamult Co-op which was established in 1895.  It was the second co-op to open in County Waterford.  In 1850 it was the site of the Finisk Flour Mill run by Denis Keily.  In the 1890's it was used as a corn mill.


On 1st March 1954 electricity was introduced to the area.  The Creamery was the one hundred thousandth customer and the switch-on was performed by Seán Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce.  'With the co-operation of Pye (Ireland) Ltd., the complete proceedings were televised, with receivers placed to show the ceremony to overflow crowds both inside and outside'.  The Parish Priest, Father Walsh also spoke at the event. (See www.esbarchives.ie)

Object of the Week - Weighing Scales from the Maternity Ward, St. Joseph's Hospital, Dungarvan

These scales were used to weigh babies in the Maternity Ward at St. Joseph's Hospital in Dungarvan.

Stamped on the scales is: Norman Cook & Sons, Dublin, Made in England, C.W. Brecknell Ltd., "Sensitive", Ombersley Road, Birmingham.

C.W. Brecknell Ltd. was founded in Birmingham in 1913, and these scales were probably used in Dungarvan in the early to mid 20th century.

Object of the Week - Maritime Diorama, 19th Century

This diorama was carved by a Mr. Carroll, a ship's captain from Dungarvan, in the 19th century.

These models were often made by retired sailors, captains or shipwrights.  They are made almost entirely of wood with some additional details such as the sea in plaster.

The three masted schooner depicted in this model is not named.  It carries the Red Ensign which was flown by British merchant ships since 1707.  Another flag on one of the main masts depicts a blue background with a gold star.  This may be the house flag, these were introduced in the late 18th century.  Patrick and William Carroll are listed as Master Mariners in the 1840's.



Seán Tyrrell's Message of Peace Concert

Seán Tyrrell's Message of Peace Concert at the Town Hall Theatre in Dungarvan last night, 23rd February 2017, was a great success.

Our thanks to all of the many people who worked hard to enable this concert to go ahead, and especially to Eddie Cantwell.

Wednesday 15th March 2017, Lecture: 'Roses from the Heart', an Irish/Australian Story, by Dr. Christina Henri

We are excited by this visit by Dr. Christina Henri from Australia, who will be giving a talk entitled 'Roses from the Heart Memorial Remembers Those Banished to the Ends of the Earth' about the 25,566 women who were sentenced to transportation to Australia between 1788 to 1853 from the then British Isles, some from Waterford.

Christina believes that many of these impoverished women were transported simply for being vagrants.  When afforded opportunities in Tasmania or Australia the women's resilience and fortitude saw them flourish and contribute to the growth of the emerging nation.  Since 2007 she has been working on 'Roses from the Heart', the first ever memorial to those women whose stories have remained untold for too long, which consists of cloth bonnets, copied from an original 1860's servant's bonnet, to symbolise their lives.  Christina is interested in 304 women from Waterford who were transported, and she is inviting women from Waterford to take part, and her aim is to have a permanent memorial of bonnets in Waterford.  In 2012 male and female prisoners from two of Dublin's prisons presented Christina with 800 bonnets.  So far 22,000 bonnets have been received.

Dr. Christina Henri is Honorary Artist in Residence at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.  Christina uses art as a tool to give meaning to history.

This is sure to be a very interesting talk and is not to be missed!  All very welcome.


Venue:          Green Room, Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan

Date:             Wednesday 15th March 2017

Time:            8pm

Admission:  €5   





Liam Giblin

We would like to extend our sympathy to the family of the late Liam Giblin who died recently, and to his sisters Mary, Rita and Theresa.

Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam.

Object of The Week - Dungarvan Town Crier's Bell c. 1900

This bell was used by members of the Wyse family of Dungarvan.  Mickie Wyse is a well known name to older Dungarvan residents.

A billhead of 1900 notes 'Michael Wyse & Co. Bill Posters, Advertising Agents, Contractors, Handbill Distributors'.

We recently had a visit from Walter McGuirk, who is a member of the Wyse family and he was the last of the bell ringers in Dungarvan.
Walter McGuirk with Museum Staff Member Kieran Lineen

Object of the Week - Postcard of Dungarvan Coat of Arms, 1907

This card was part of a heraldic series published by Stoddart & Co. of Halifax, Yorkshire, between 1905 and 1917.  They were printed under the trademark Ja-Ja.

The image depicts the ancient Irish warriors flanking a shield containing an image of a ship with a castle on either side representing Dungarvan Castle and Abbeyside Castle.  The motto beneath reads: 'Ní Maraide Go Stiúrtóir' - Not a Mariner 'Till a Steersman.

It was designed by the scholar and antiquarian William Williams (1820-1875) in 1863.

Object of the Week - 'Bedstone' from Ring, Co. Waterford, c.19th Century

Millstones came in pairs, the base or 'bedstone' is stationary, and above this is what is called the turning stone or 'runner stone' which does the grinding of the grain.  The bedstone is slightly convex in shape which allows the flour to be pushed to the edge.

These stones can be difficult to date as the design did not change much over the centuries.

The example shown here is probably 19th century.

Mary Butler

The Museum would like to extend sincere sympathy to the family of Mrs. Mary Butler who died recently.

Mary was a long time member of the Museum Society and enjoyed attending the talks and member's outings.

Along with her husband Maurice, Mary ran the well known Butler's Shop in O'Connell Street.  It had the best ice cream cones in Dungarvan.

Thursday 2nd February 2017 Lecture - 'Blest be the hour which gave my Sarah birth: verses to a young lady', by Julian Walton

The next lecture in the Dunhill History Lecture series will take place on Thursday 2nd February 2017 at 8pm in the Dunhill Education Centre.  The speaker will be Julian Walton and his subject is 'Blest be the hour which gave my Sarah birth: verses to a young lady'.

On either side of the fireplace in the inner hall at Curraghmore House hang two gigantic portraits.  To the right is the celebrated Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, chatelaine of Curraghmore during the Famine.  Much has been written about her.  To the left is her far less well known sister in law Lady Sarah Beresford, Countess of Shrewsbury.  This is her story.

This looks like being a very interesting lecture which is not be be missed!

Object of the Week - Part of the Schooner 'Parton'

This schooner was built at Annan in Wales in 1886 by the shipbuilder Nicholson.  Her official number was 53139.  At this time her owner was William Kiely and the boat was registered at Whitehaven.  The dimensions of the schooner were: 81.9 x 20.5 x 10.6 feet, tonnage 93.

Later the Parton was acquired by Sheehan and Ryan of Main Street, Dungarvan, who used it for transporting coal, timber and oats to and from Cardiff, Newport and Bristol.

The schooner was damaged by a collision with a tugboat in Milford Haven.  It was brought back to Dungarvan where it was eventually abandoned near the Cunnigar where traces of it can still be seen today.

Object of the Week - Part of the High Altar of St. Mary's Parish Church, Dungarvan, by Scannell of Cork, 1861

The Cork Examiner of 11th September 1861 published a report on the new high altar for St. Mary's Parish Church, Dungarvan, which it described as 'one of the finest in Ireland'.  It noted that the altar was the gift of Miss Katherine Kennedy of Dungarvan at a cost of £500.

A large sculpture of the Dead Christ was the centrepiece of the composition, in Carrara marble, carved by John Scannell, Architectural and Ecclesiastical Sculptor, of Union Quay, Cork.

The paper went on to describe the altar surrounds: the tabernacle, which from the slab of the altar will rise to the imposing height of 18 feet and a half.  At its base will be placed the tabernacle itself, to be ornamental of wrought iron, and adorned with marble and enamel.  Above, the figures of two angels will be carved, before a tazza of marble, intended for a monstrance for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Marble shafts rise at either side and support an archway for which an octagonal spire springs, terminating in a winged seraph.  Winged seraphs also crown the two small shafts that rise at the base of the spire.

The report noted that the altar would be completed in two months.

Lecture - 'Sir John Keane and Cappoquin House in time of war and revolution' by Mr. Glascott Symes

This lecture is part of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society's Winter/Spring Lecture Programme 2017, and will cover Sir John Keane's management of the Cappoquin estate through his service in both the Boer War and World War I, returning home for the War of Independence.

He went on to serve in the first Senate of the Free State only to have his home destroyed in the Civil War.

However, he personally oversaw the rebuilding of the house.

Please see our previous review of the book in the same name by Mr. Symes.


Venue:  St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, Patrick Street, Waterford

Date:     Friday 27th January 2017

Time:    8pm

1916 Exhibition & New Temporary Exhibition from Reserve Collection

The 1916 exhibition has now been dismantled and we would like to thank all those who loaned artefacts and provided information.  Part of the exhibition has been incorporated into our permanent display on the revolutionary period.

We will be replacing this exhibition with a selection of artefacts and documents from our reserve collection not normally on show.


Trip Advisor Visitor Review - 'Wonderful Museum'

'The Waterford County Museum is a great place to spend time.  It is in a central location in Dungarvan and its exhibits are very well laid out.  The staff are friendly and informative.  When you visit the area, you will have a good experience of our local culture.  It is a must visit when calling to Dungarvan, Co. Waterford'.  Visited October 2016.

Object of the Week - Programme for the Tipperary V. Cork Football Semi-Final at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, 4th July 1948

This is one of a collection of hurling and football programmes in the Museum archive.  It was printed by the Dungarvan Observer.

There are a number of advertisements for local businesses, including two on the front cover shown in this image for Miss Boyle, O'Connell Street, and M.J. Cleary, publican, Grattan Square.

The result of the match was Cork 0-12, Tipperary 0-3. Referee P. Ryan.

Trip Advisor Visitor Review - 'A Must on Your Next Trip to Dungarvan'

'I cannot say enough about the Waterford County Museum!  It is a wholly inclusive account of the history of Dungarvan, with beautiful displays and artefacts filling the entire space.  Every display is beautifully staged with a description providing even more history and context.  And that is just the museum itself.  The people are what really make the museum shine!  The whole team was so helpful and attentive.  They were able to print beautiful photos for us of my great-grandfather (which were in their archive) and even helped us identify a medallion that we had of his.  Eddie Cantwell, the local historian, went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that my family and I had an immersive and enriching experience both at the museum itself and all around Dungarvan.  I cannot recommend a stop at the Waterford County Museum enough on your next trip to Dungarvan!  We will be back for sure!'  Visited July 2016.

Object of the Week - Wooden Butter Pats, Early 20th Century

When the butter was removed from the churn the butter had to be 'grained' so that it was thick enough for moulding.

It was then washed several times in cold water and the buttermilk drained off.  Once the butter was clean enough, butter pats were used to mould it into shape.  The pats were dipped in water in between to avoid the butter sticking.

Butter sold in grocery shops came in large slabs.  The grocer cut off a section and shaped it with the butter pats.  Sometimes the butter was stamped with a design from a wooden mould.

New Book - 'Faces in the Window' by Susan M. Green

This is a beautiful new book full of stunning photographs of details of the stained glass windows in Mount Melleray Abbey.

These close up photographs show the stained glass windows made by Harry Clarke Studios circa 1940's, along with quotations from Scripture and St. Patrick's Breastplate to aid meditation on the images, all printed on thick glossy pages.

Available from Mount Melleray Abbey Book Shop.

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