Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
Tel: +353 (0)58 45960 Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie
Shopping Cart
Articles Photos

An Linn Bhuí Iris Ghaeltacht na nDéise Uimhir 24


An Linn Bhuí  Iris Ghaeltacht na nDéise Uimhir 24

The latest issue of this impressive journal has just been published with the usual fascinating combination of articles and photographs.  Museum member Nioclás Ó Gríobhthain has an article titled “Seirbhís Faire Mara agus Cósta Cheann Heilbhic” included in this edition.

Congratulations to all concerned on a consistently well produced journal.


Decorative Exterior Plasterwork contd.

Dungarvan coat of arms plasterwork

Continuing from last week - here are more examples of decorative exterior plasterwork which can be seen in Dungarvan.

Plaster window surround O'Connell St.
Window moulding O'Connell St.

Town Hall facade

C.B.S. Doorway

Decorative Exterior Plasterwork


Windows in O'Connell St

Decorative Exterior Plasterwork

In the 19th and early 20th centuries an inexpensive way to give a building architectural presence was the addition of decorative plaster mouldings.  Designs were made around windows and doors or pilasters and architraves to form a shopfront in a hard-wearing cement render.  Often, we have no details on the craftsmen who carried out this work.  One of the most notable Irish craftsmen who specialized in decorating the exterior of buildings was Pat McAuliffe of Listowel.  The only example of this style is the Dungarvan coat of arms on the upper façade of what is now James Mans Shop at 2 Main Street.  In Dungarvan craftsmen we know of include Butler, Markley and Riordan. Michael Markley is described in the 1911 census as aged 58 and living at 13 Nicholas Street and his profession is noted as ‘Slater & Plasterer’.  He may have been responsible for one of the most decorative plaster facades in Dungarvan - now Browne’s Townhouse in Mitchel Street.  The design incorporates a semi-circular arch with a honeysuckle design over the entrance door and bold shouldered architraves to the windows and pilasters with rusticated quoin stones to either side of the façade.

John Butler and family carried out internal decorative stucco work such as the ceiling and cornice in the Friary church in the 19th century and also the exterior work on the façade of the old Town Hall in St Augustine Street c.1910.

Elaborate decorative window surrounds can be seen on the upper floors of buildings in O’Connell Street.  Later plasterwork in a robust style can be seen on the façade of the house built at the corner of Main Street and Friary Street by the Moloney family in 1903.  The contractor was Dan Stokes. It is a tribute to the craftsmen that much of this decorative work still survives in good condition on buildings throughout the town.

Priory House

Drawing by W. Fraher of window details Priory House

Priory House Doorway

Drawing by W. Fraher of Brownes House, Mitchel St.

Plaster Consoles Mary St.

Our Heritage in Stone - Spur-stones, Stone Doorcases and Sea Walls


These stones were once very common in Irish towns and villages.  They are usually circular in shape (like a bollard) but sometimes they can be square in shape.  They are usually fixed in the road against the angle of a building or on either side of an archway and protected the base of corners from the wheels of carts rubbing against the corners.  

Spur-stone at The Anchor

Spur-stone at the Lookout

Stone Doorcases

There is a fine entrance doorcase in limestone at Friary House in Main Street.  The building designed by George Ashlin was started in 1871 and completed in 1873. It is contrasted with the surrounding red bricks.  The principal windows of the building are also in limestone. 

One of the oldest surviving doorways (of sandstone) in Dungarvan can be seen in Barrack Lane on the building known as ‘St Garvan’s Church’.  The building is now believed to be a merchant’s house, and dates to the 16th century.  Across the street some of the oldest stonework in the town can be seen in Dungarvan Castle. It includes some fragments of Dundry stone from Bristol in the keep, which was normally reserved for decoration around windows and doors.  More early stonework can be seen in the ruins of the Augustinian Abbey in Abbeyside.

St. Garvan Church Doorway

Castle Gateway

Friary House Doorway

Sea walls

There are some fine examples of limestone walls around the town at the Youghal Road, Shandon, Quanns, and Duckspool.  These were constructed in the 19th century and are so well-built that they have survived to the present day without major repairs.  It is believed that these walls were built as part of relief work during the Great Famine.

Wall at Shandon, 1859

Illustrated History of Dungarvan


Edmond Keohan exhibit

Illustrated History of Dungarvan by Edmond Keohan

Waterford County Museum is delighted to announce the publication of our third book this year.  Edmond Keohan’s “History of Dungarvan” was first published in 1924.  This new edition has much new material including a biographical account of the author by William Fraher, his brief history of Dungarvan which was published in 1919 and his history of Abbeyside Castle published in 1916.  We have also added additional photographs by Keohan.  This will made an ideal Christmas present.  The book is for sale in David Walsh’s shop on Main Street.  Cost of the book is €20. 

We will have a small exhibition on Edmond Keohan and his work when the museum is allowed to reopen.  Included in the display will be a recent donation of three of Keohans’ original publications.

Our Heritage in Stone - Town Park Archway 1895


Town Park Archway 1895

On 3 September 1894 a special meeting was held by Dungarvan Town Commissioners to consider adopting the 'Parks Act'. 'We the Town Commissioners in special meeting assembled do determine to establish a Public Park for the use and enjoyment of the people of Dungarvan, that we take steps to acquire land and that we apply portion of the grant of the late Captain William Gibbons towards carrying out the subject matter of this resolution’.  Captain Gibbons lived nearby in Church Street and died on 14 December 1894 age 67.  In his will he left a bequest of £1,750 to the townspeople for the creation of a park, improvements at the lookout and for a park at Ringnasilloge (the latter project was never carried out).

On 6 September 1894 John Walsh proposed at a meeting of Dungarvan Town Commissioners that they:  'establish and maintain a Public park'.  At a meeting some weeks later, the commissioners agreed to the establishment of a park.  On 18 October the clerk was ordered to write to various landowners to enquire what sum they required for six to nineteen acres of land.  A deputation was appointed to visit one of the sites for the proposed park. This was situated at Jacknell Street, now called Park Terrace, on an elevated site overlooking the bay.  The Commissioners appointed Michael Beary, the Borough Surveyor to design the site.  On 2 November 1894 the Commissioners decided to place an advert in the Waterford Star indicating their intention to establish a park.

An archway was erected as an entrance to the park. It had an inscribed plaque with decorative limestone surrounds. At the commissioner’s meeting of June 1895, the following inscription was ordered to be placed over the arch:

These grounds were acquired and ornamented, and the bathing place adjoining improved by the Town commissioners with portions of a bequest of £1,760 left them for specific improvement on the 13th December 1894 by William Gibbons, Dungarvan.

Trustees:  Rev.Denis Whelan, St.John's College; Edmond Keohan, Chairman Town Commissioners; William Evans, National Bank, Dungarvan; Contractor: George Stokes, Dungarvan; Engineer: Michael Beary B.S., Dungarvan; Thomas McCarthy, Town Clerk.

In June 1895 the commissioners commissioned a plaque and surround from E. O'Shea of Callan, Co. Kilkenny. In June J.F. Williams, solicitor served notice on the Town Commissioners to attend at the High Court on 2 July 1895 'at the suit of the executors and executrix of the will of the late captain Gibbons, verses the beneficiaries of the will - Mrs Mary Gibbons, Cork; Helena Gibbons, Dungarvan; James Gibbons, Dungarvan, and  the Town Commissioners’. 

A dispute arose about the names and information which the Commissioners had placed on the plaque. In July 1895 the Rev. Whelan and Mrs Gibbons asked the Commissioners to omit the executor's names. They agreed to this but insisted on retaining their own names explaining that - 'as we believe, in doing so we are only following a custom which as regards historical records are beneficial, advisable and instructive’.

In early September 1895 the Commissioners enquired when the work on the park would be completed. The following month Mrs Mary Gibbons contacted the Commissioners asking them to remove the plaque on the arch into the park or she would take legal action. 'I have been asked to give your Town Commissioners another opportunity of complying with my request regarding that objectionable tablet.' On 14 November the Borough Surveyor reported that he had removed the slab as ordered. Before its removal the plaque had been crossed out in paint and was photographed by Edmond Keohan.  He titled the picture ‘The Condemned Slab’.  In November the stonemason Mr O'Shea was paid £28-5-1 for the plaque and related work.

A smaller plaque in marble was also erected to commemorate the creation of ‘The Esplanade’ or Lookout in 1896 as it was more commonly called which was also funded by the Gibbons bequest and this was later moved to its present site on the sea wall opposite the park.

Plaque on the archway

Plaque on the sea wall

The Book of Lismore

The Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement and the Duke of Devonshire have donated an important medieval manuscript known as The Book of Lismore to University College Cork.  This manuscript is considered to be one of the great books of Ireland.  It has been in the possession of the Dukes of Devonshire since the 1640s and was originally kept in Lismore Castle.  It will eventually be displayed in a Treasures Gallery in the Boole Library in University College Cork.

Our Heritage in Stone - Edmond Power Memorial


Unidentified children at Power's Memorial with St. Mary's Church of Ireland
in the Background. c 1900

Edmond Power Memorial

The Power family are said to have lived at Ballygagin to the west of Dungarvan, where Edmond's father held a large amount of land. Edmond's father may have been John Power.  John Power of Ballygagin is named as one of the executors in the will of Pierce Britt of Ballynalahessary in 1784.  His father was said to have been comfortably well off.  This John Power made his will on 15 August 1787.  In it he directs that he be buried in the family burial place at Kilgobnet, he refers to his wife Mary Walsh and his children.  Edmond had a brother John and two sisters, one of whom is said to have married an O'Keefe of Mountain Castle near Modeligo.  Edmond became involved with the local branch of the United Irishmen. Power and a companion, Francis Hearn, were arrested by the authorities. According to Canon Power, Edmond was betrayed by Michael McGrath from Ballynamuck.  Another account written by Mary Ellen Barron (whose grandmother, Mary Power, was a great - grand niece of Edmond Power) in the 1950's states that the informer was Seamus A. Gabhann, (James Duggan) the Blacksmith. Edmond was arrested in September 1799 and taken to Waterford where he was court martialled in October of that year and sentenced to be hanged.

A monument in the form of a Celtic cross by Molloy of Callan was erected to his memory in the Park.  (This is the only 1798 memorial in Co. Waterford).  It was officially unveiled by the Rev. Richard Henebry in 1903, six years after it was first planned.  Henebry gave a speech in which he stated that Power was hanged from a window of the Old Market House.  Power's body is said to have been removed to Kilgobnet for burial.  The cross incorporates shamrocks on the tops of the pillars which are of polished stone, a panel contains an Irish harp and the date 1898. The shaft of the cross shows two pikes and intertwined shamrocks on one side and Celtic interlacing on the other.  There is a raised inscription ‘Remember 98’ and on the base in Irish and English is the following inscription:

In memory of Edmond Power Who was hanged in Dungarvan for his love of country in 1798.  Also in memory of the heroes of 98 who fought and shed their blood for Ireland.

May God bless the cause they fought.

Details of pikes on Edmond Power Memorial

Our Heritage in Stone - Stone Plaques in Dungarvan contd.


Christian Brothers School Shandon plaque

Christian Brothers School, Shandon.

The plaque commemorates the opening of a school at Shandon in 1811 by the Christian Brothers.  The brothers moved here from a school they had opened at Main Street in 1807. They also built a single-story house where they lived which still survives at the rear of the Park Hotel.  The brothers moved to a new larger schoolhouse at Mitchel Street in 1835.

This limestone plaque was unveiled by Rev. Brother Keane, Superior, C.B.S., Dungarvan on Sunday 1st July 1956 with Richie Walsh and Tom Kyne in attendance.  The plaque was blessed by Rev. Dan O’Byrne, Curate.  The plaque was designed by architect Mr. Aylward and the contractor was John Hearne and Sons, Waterford.  It was placed on the roofless outer wall of the schoolhouse.  When the site was acquired to build the Park Hotel the ruin of the school was demolished, and the plaque was re-erected on the boundary wall at the front of the hotel.

More information about the C.B.S. can be found in “The Christian Brothers in Dungarvan 1807 – 1992 A Tribute” by Tom Keith

 Unveiling of C.B.S. plaque by Rev. Brother Keane, Superior, at C.B.S. on Sunday 1st July 1956.  The plaque was blessed by Rev. Dan O’Byrne, Curate.  The plaque was designed by architect Mr. Aylward and the contractor was John Hearne and Sons, Waterford.

Carvings at Saint Augustine’s church, Abbeyside.

We don’t know what the original Augustinian abbey looked like and the cloisters and living accommodation are long gone.  However, fragments of carvings can still be seen set into the 19th century parish church.  The most detailed is a square limestone plaque with a griffin and three scallop shells.  Three shells are the symbol of St James.  It has been suggested that this is the arms of the abbey, but it does not seem to be the case.  It is possibly part of a family tomb but what family still remains a mystery.  Next to it on the side of one of the church windows is a sandstone head of a bishop carved in a naive medieval style.  It is doubtful if it is old but was probably carved by one of the 19th century stonemasons building the church.  It may represent Saint Augustine.  High up on the gable wall of the church next to the entrance door there are ancient fragments of possible capitals from the tops of pillars.

On the north wall of the ruined abbey church is a fine limestone doorway or tomb recess with vine leaf decoration.  Beneath it lies the tomb of Donal McGrath dated to 1470.

Carvings at St. Augustine's church, Abbeyside

McGrath Tomb Archway

New Book by Dungarvan poet Pádraig J. Daly

Dungarvan born poet Pádraig J. Daly has a new book of poetry out titled “A Small Psalter” published by Scotus Books.  One of the poems titled “Déisibh Mumhan” references local place names.

There is an introduction by Jack Harte who says “His vision has been at once profoundly spiritual and profoundly humanitarian.  He is exactly the kind of writer that people should read as an antidote to the superficiality of our age”….

Museum Book featured on The Ryan Tubridy Show


We were delighted last week to get a mention on the Ryan Tubridy Show about one of our recent publications entitled “Desperate Haven” which is the story of the famine in the Dungarvan Union.  Ryan has a great interest in Irish history and said he looks forward to visiting the museum.

"Desperate Haven" is available to buy from the Book Centre, Waterford City and Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan priced €20. To buy it online search for "Waterford County Museum" on Amazon. Profits go towards supporting the museum.


Buy Our Books 

Desperate Haven

The story of the famine in Dungarvan & West Waterford. 


The Comeraghs "Gunfire & Civil War"

History of the Déise Brigade IRA 1914-1924. The story of the conflict in the words of the volunteers who fought. 


The Towns & Villages of the Waterford Greenway

A history of Dungarvan, Abbeyside, Stradbally, Kilmacthomas, Portlaw & Waterford City. 


Our Heritage in Stone - Stone plaques in Dungarvan contd.


Moresby Plaque - The Lookout

Moresby Plaque – The Lookout

This limestone memorial which has the Dungarvan crest on the top commemorates the men who volunteered to man the lifeboat which saved seven crew members from the ship Moresby on Christmas Eve 1895.

It has another inscription on the reverse which is now hidden with the following inscription:

To commemorate the bravery of the Dungarvan lifeboat volunteers in their noble efforts to rescue the crew of the Moresby 24 Decr 1895.

It appears that there was an objection to the use of the name ‘Dungarvan’ in the inscription. 

St. Patrick Street - Name Plaque

St Patrick Street - Name Plaque

This limestone plaque was until recent years on a wall at the entrance to Keating Street leading from O’Connell Street.  It is now on display in Waterford County Museum.  Before Keating Street was constructed this area consisted of St Patrick’s Street, St Nicholas’ Street and St David’s Street, all built by the Duke of Devonshire between 1808 and 1822 to create 40- shilling freeholders.

The Infant School - Church Street

Lost Plaques

The Infant School – Church Street

This plaque was placed over the Church Street entrance to the infant School but was removed in recent years when the site was redeveloped. The architect of the school was Henry Sinnott, who designed other buildings in Dungarvan, the most impressive being the Catholic Young Men’s Society Rooms in Bridge Street (now Bank House). It is inscribed:

Convent of Our Lady of Mercy




In September 1867 the nuns organized a ‘Grand Fancy Bazaar’ to pay off the debt on the school.  Amongst the patrons were: Lady Stuart de Decies, Countess of Bessborough, Lady Gwendolne Power O’Shee and the Countess of Dartrey.

No. 24 Church Street

No. 24 Church Street

The sketch illustrates two stone plaques which were set into the façade of No. 24 Church Street.  They were inscribed: K.G.M. 1714 and H.B.S. 1761

This house is one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Dungarvan and legend recalls that it was in this house that Cromwell’s second- in-command, General Michael Jones, died in 1649.  The house may well date to the 17th century and the two plaques may relate to subsequent modifications.

But what do the initials on the plaques stand for?  These may record a marriage – the top initial is the surname of the husband, the bottom left his Christian name and that on the bottom right his wife’s initial.

The 1714 stone may record George Keane and his wife Mary, a prominent citizen who died in 1743.  The 1761 stone probably records Beverly Hearn (1704-1773) and his wife Susanna (1706-1773).  He was the son of John Hearn of Shanakill House and was an officer in the Regiment of Dragoons in 1756.  By the time of his death in 1773 he was living at Mount Odell.

Presumably, this George Keane and Beverly Hearn were the same people listed as agents to the Hore family estate in Dungarvan and Shandon. Keane from 1716 to his death and Hearn from 1750 to c.1775.  The house in Church Street was part of the Hore estate.

Sadly, these plaques are no longer visible.

Museum Closed


Waterford County Museum is closed from Wednesday 7th October as per government guidelines.  We look forward to seeing you all again soon.

In the meantime you can still contact the museum by email at: info@waterfordmuseum.ie.

All museum events, lecture, etc. are cancelled until further notice.

Our Heritage in Stone - Stone Plaques in Dungarvan

Walking around Dungarvan and Abbeyside there are stone plaques, almost all of limestone, which record or commemorate an event, street, building or person. We pass by these without noticing them most of the time, but it is easy for such items to disappear during renovations to buildings and structures.

It is important that they are recorded visually and that they are given protection to ensure their preservation.  This week we show a selection of these plaques, a few of which are no longer visible and are probably destroyed or lost. 

Stone formerly on the facade of the Christian Brothers Monastery and
now fixed to a modern wall on the site.  It is inscribed:
This house was built in 1851
For the Christian Brothers
By the munificence of
Miss Anne Carbery
And by the bequests of her sisters
Miss Ellen and Miss Mary Carbery
May they rest in peace

This street name plaque inscribed 'B.G.M. Castle Street 1727' can now be seen in Barrack Lane in front of the WWI memorial.  The stone had been lost and was rediscovered in the 1970s at the lookout when improvement works were being undertaken.  We don't know what the initials G.B.M. stand for but it may refer to a member of Dungarvan Corporation or a landowner who owned property on the street.

A limestone street name plaque inscribed 'Galwey's Lane 1740'.  The
Galweys were a well-known merchant family in the town (later of
Duckspool and Colligan Lodge), who had property in the area.  The
stone was removed when Moloney's Store was demolished and re-
erected on the building which replaced it. 

This is one of the most decorative stone plaques to be seen in Dungarvan.  It can be seen at the base of No. 21 Church Street and is inscribed: 'Patricke Gough 1615', the P and G are carved as interlaced letters.  There are two other capital letters, A and part of another now damaged.  It also contains a hand holding a stamp or seal.  It commemorates Gough who was Attorney for Session in 1591 and Portreeve of Dungarvan in 1602.  The stone is either a commemorative foundation stone or part of a fireplace once incorporated into a stone house on this site.

Our Heritage in Stone - St Mary's Church of Ireland

One of the oldest stone structures in Dungarvan is the old gable wall in the cemetery which has fascinated locals and visitors to Dungarvan for centuries.  In the 19th century and before people speculated that it was the ruin of a lighthouse or a sun worshipping temple.  It is in fact the remains of the pre-Reformation church of St Mary the Virgin records of which go back to the 1300s.  The most distinctive feature are the circular windows which are wider on the inside and on the outside face of the wall there are decorative sandstone surrounds which may be of Dundry stone from the Bristol area.

The present church designed by James Pain c. 1835 is constructed predominantly of limestone with sandstone blocks which may be reused stone from the 18th century church on the site.   On one of the walls is a sandstone plaque inscribed: ‘J.H. & B.B. C.W. 1827’.   It commemorates John Hudson and Beresford Boate, Church Wardens.  This may refer to an upgrading of the earlier church.  An extension was added to the east end in 1903. This was executed in limestone in a more regular manner.

Upcoming Events

More Upcoming Events

Latest News

More News

Latest Articles

Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list and get all the latest news for free via email. Simply enter your email address in the box below and press the 'Join' button.

Make A Donation

Waterford County Museum is a non profit voluntary museum. We would be grateful for any financial donation large or small.

Social Media

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Blogger Follow us on Youtube
Waterford County Museum 2014. All rights reserved. Please read our Terms of Use
Website By: Déise Design