Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Stories from Old Newspapers

Rev James Alcock Ring (1805-1893)

The following piece was published in The Protestant Standard, Sydney, on 27 May 1893.

Death of an Old Irish Clergyman

We regret to have to announce the death at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, of the Rev. James Alcock, A.M., Vicar of Ringagoona, near Dungarvan, in the diocese of Lismore, with which parish he had been associated for sixty years.  The deceased was ordained in the year 1831, and was appointed to the parish of Ringagoona in 1833, and officiated up to within a few months of his death.  During the Famine years the Rev. J Alcock rendered valuable help to the starving people around Ring, having procured funds for the purpose of buying food which was the means of saving many lives.  A curious incident in connection with the deceased and perhaps the only case of the kind in Ireland was that he resided during the sixty years…in the house of a Roman Catholic gentleman (Mr. Fitzgerald of Seaview).  It appears at the time of his appointment there was no Glebe house in the parish, or in fact, any house procurable, and being invited to stay at Seaview he remained there until his death.

Photo of the Week

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Stories from Old Newspapers

Dungarvan - ‘the bathing here is execrable’

The following piece was published in the Clonmel Herald on the 25th of July 1831.  The writer was underwhelmed by the charms of Dungarvan.

Dungarvan….the approach provides a delightful promenade…it may be remarked that though it is one of the most considerable fishing towns in the kingdom, there are times when like the present fish is scarce and very dear; at the period of this excursion there was much scarcity of hake, but a glut of sprats which were sold extremely cheap and on which the poor people appear to live; these last fish if salted, dried in the air, and smoked, afford, it is said, a delightful repast.  The meat market was poorly supplied with mutton and beef, vegetables were scarce and consequently dear; the old potatoes which is of the old red apple kind, are very excellent and very superior to new potatoes.

The bathing here is execrable in consequence of the want of accommodation.  Warm baths can be had but they are on the most disgusting and confined plan.  The same water is made to serve for several persons, and the baths are of wood.  It is very extraordinary that the inhabitants who must be benefiting by the influx of visitors that come here every season, would not exert themselves to have proper baths erected.  Were the Duke of Devonshire applied to …we have no doubt, but he would bear the expense of erecting baths.

Water Damage to Museum Exhibitions

Last Friday morning our worst nightmare came true when museum staff arrived to discover that the upstairs bathroom had overflowed sending large volumes of water crashing through the ceiling onto museum exhibits beneath.

This area has only been completed a few weeks ago and also contained the archaeology section of our new Brenan exhibition, so it was a heartbreaking sight to behold.

The walls contained some of our most important drawings and paintings by artists such as Sarah Purser, Power O’Malley, Maud Power and rare 19th century sketches and watercolours of Dungarvan.  Part of our new Brenan exhibition was beneath the deluge containing valuable archaeological sketches, letters and pamphlets.

The curator and museum staff took immediate action to move display cases and remove the pictures from the walls while the water was still pouring down.  The museum committee cannot thank the staff enough for their tremendous efforts working in such an awful mess of water and debris.

Thanks to Paulus, Miriam, Tony, Danny, Patricia and Barry.  A big thank you to Joanne Rothwell, Waterford City & County Archivist who came to our rescue and offered advice and practical assistance.  Our thanks to museum committee members Paul McLoughlin and Chrissy Knight O’Connor who helped with the clean up.  Thanks also to Tara McAndrew CE Supervisor, Conor Nolan, Waterford City Arts Officer, Gabriel Foley and the council staff.

The museum will back open this week and we hope to have our precious documents and pictures back on display in the not too distant future.

Photo of the Week

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Stories from Old Newspapers

Dungarvan Sailors have words

Captain Patrick Curran, Dungarvan, took Patrick McCue, Abbeyside, to court for abusing and threatening language in October 1877.  Their case was reported in the Waterford News on the 9th of November 1877.

‘Captain Curran was on board the brigantine Fairy…when the defendant came over from the quay, called him a blackguard and pig boy, and said, in a threatening attitude ‘By J…s you had better look out for yourself’.; about half past eight o’clock the same night the complainant again saw the defendant and some other sailors coming along Abbeyside; he went to the other side of the road to avoid them, but when they saw him they called him a blackguard and scoundrel, and abused him very badly’.

Captain Curran told the court that the sailors were now on strike as a result of McCue’s intimidation.  He stated that Captains Christopher and Halley were on board the ship Fairy and witnessed what McCue said.  Captain Curran admitted that he and McCue had called each other liars previously.

The captain of the Fairy was Hally and he was also a witness to the confrontation between the two men.  He said that McCue said to Captain Curran: ‘Did you say that the Dungarvan and Abbeyside sailors were a dirty hungry lot?’  Captain Curran said that he was afraid that McCue would do him an injury.  The case concluded with McCue being bound over and had to pay two sureties of £10 each for 12 months, or in default to be imprisoned for two months with hard labour’.

National Heritage Awards

Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan were delighted to be recognised for an award and to represent Waterford at the National Heritage Awards on Wednesday the 6th of February 2019.

The Museum picked up an award after being shortlisted from hundreds for their community work at Gallows Hill, Dungarvan.  Well done to all involved.

Pictured: Chrissy Knight O'Connor and Eddie Cantwell (Waterford County Museum/Gallows Hill Project Coordinators).

Photo of the Week

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Stories from Old Newspapers

Knockbrack Slate Quarry

On the 30th of September 1933 the Dungarvan Observer published an article about the reopening of the Knockbrack Slate Quarry near Clashmore which had not been worked for many years and had first opened in the 19th century.  According to historian Canon Power, Knockbrack slate was exhibited in the Cork International Exhibition of 1902.

The paper noted that the promoters had just made the final arrangements about employing local people.  It was anticipated that initially 30 to 50 people would be employed.  Much of the work involved clearing out the old debris to enable them to dig deeper to find the better quality slate.  ‘It may be interesting to note that the present machinery about to be erected…consists of one giant crane by Butler Brothers, Engineers, Glasgow’.  It was noted that the promoters had received a government loan.

J McGrath CEIMCE was appointed overseer, John Tynan, engineer, formerly of the Killaloe Slate Quarry, was in charge of the machinery.  The company representatives also paid a visit to the P.P. of Clashmore, Father Murphy, who wished them well.

It was explained that the quality of the slate in the quarry was very good, ‘especially the green seam, and this may be proved by the fact that many of the oldest houses in Youghal, Clashmore, and other places are covered with Knockbrack slate, and are there for over 100 years or more’.

In the Schools Collection on www.duchas.ie there is a reference to the quarry compiled by Ballycurrane School:

‘The old slate quarry at Knockbrack supplied all the slate that was used in roofing here about a hundred years ago.  The slate on the school came from there.  It was rather small and heavy and was not polished off like the English slate as they had not the requisite machinery.  It was owned by the Coughlan family.  Some years ago it was acquired by the Killaloe Company and was worked for a while.  Some fine slate was got but it was abandoned again.  A huge hole half filled with water is all that remains of the last attempt’.

John F Boyle in his booklet - Waterford County: Its Lapsed and Possible Industries 1906 referred to the excellent quarry at Knockbrack situated on the lands of Mr Coughlan and its green and purple slates.

The Tragic Voyage of Paul and Aga Mueller - An Illustrated Talk by Brian Mulvihill

Brian’s talk deals with Aga Mueller and her father Paul and their failed voyage from Germany to Argentina in a sixteen foot boat named Berlin.  The journey that they chose to undertake was indeed an epic one and Brian will trace their journey to its end and all that happened in between.

The story is a fantastic one with twists and turns that people will not believe, it’s worthy of an Agatha Christie novel, with a cliff hanger ending.  The story does not end with the ending of the voyage and goes right up to the modern day!  Brian has spent many years researching this particular project, and it most certainly is going to be a very interesting talk.

Brian worked for many years in Dungarvan Crystal prior to the factory closure.  He then returned to college and retrained as a teacher.  This retraining included a yearlong work placement at a camp in America.  Upon qualification, Brian secured work with the Waterford Wexford ETB and he currently works as a tutor with Dungarvan Youthreach.

This talk takes place in the Town Hall Theatre, Dungarvan on Wednesday the 20th of February at 8pm.  There is an admittance fee of €5, and as always, all are welcome.

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