Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 7 - Gates contd.

William Fraher, curator of Waterford County Museum continues with his series on the wealth of ironwork to be seen in Dungarvan and Abbeyside. Following on from last week, this week again features gates in the town.

Railings and gate St Augustine's Church, late 19th century. Image N.L.I.

Railings and gates Friary House, late 19th century. Image N.L.I.

Detail of gate St. Augustine's Church 
Detail of railing St Augustine's Church


St Augustine’s Church and Friary House

The original church was opened in 1829 and had a thatched roof.  It was enlarged in 1853 and the thatched roof was replaced by slate.  In the 1840s the entrance to the church was between a row of old single storey houses.  In the late 19th century these cabins were demolished and a new wall with cast iron railings was constructed.

The railings were from the MacFarlane foundry and the design was published in their catalogue and is reproduced here.

Friary Church railing, MacFarlane's catalogue
Friary House gate post, MacFarlane's catalogue

Friary House railing, MacFarlane's catalogue

Friary House was built in 1873 as a residence for the Augustinians.  It had a simple wooden railing on a brick wall which was later replaced with the current railing and gates also cast by the MacFarlane foundry.  The patterns for the new railings and gates are reproduced here from the MacFarlane catalogue.

These railings and gates make an attractive addition to the streetscape in St Augustine Street and Main Street and are well maintained.

Friary House, gate detail
Entrance gate St Augustine's Church

Friary House Gate
Gatepost detail Friary House
Ironwork railing Friary House

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 6 - Gates

William Fraher, curator of Waterford County Museum continues this week with the sixth part in his series on the wealth of ironwork to be seen in Dungarvan and Abbeyside.  Lamp posts, boot scrapers, railings, balconies, post boxes, gates, bandstands, street name plaques, bollards, manhole covers and window guards.


St Mary’s Parish Church

These gates were meant to impress anyone travelling up Mary Street and provide an imposing entrance to the church.  They were erected in the mid-19th century.  What existed before them?  Probably a rubble stone wall and a simple pair of wrought-iron gates between stone pillars.

Who was responsible for the present gates and when were they installed? 
They were built by Dungarvan native, Rev. Jeremiah Halley (1797-1875), P.P. of Dungarvan.  On one of the gate piers is the raised inscription: Revd. Jeremiah Halley 1838.  It was believed that this was the date the gates were erected but the recent discovery of a newspaper article gives the actual date of their construction.  The Tipperary Free Press of 12 September 1849 reported as follows:
The Very Rev. Dr. Halley, is now embellishing the entrance to the truly magnificent Parish Chapel by the erection of splendid gates, and a most extensive enclosure of ornamented cast-iron railing. The massive and beautiful pillars are formed of three unique capped columns of the same material, and the coup d’oeil from the adjoining street, square, etc., of both church and entrance will be truly grand and imposing. The inhabitants of Dungarvan feel justly proud of their commodious and beautiful temple. 

The date on the pillar obviously refers to Father Halley’s appointment as parish priest of Dungarvan and it is interesting that he wanted his name visible where it would be seen by all who entered the church grounds.  He also had his name inscribed on the baptismal font and high altar – he certainly wanted to leave his mark!

Iron bracket 
Unfortunately, there is no maker’s name visible on the gates, so it is not known whether they were cast in an Irish or British foundry.  The railings (which are in a gothic style to blend with the church architecture) rest on finely cut and dressed limestone blocks and there are buttresses at intervals which have elaborate cast-iron scroll brackets supporting the railings.  Part of the railings and limestone wall were badly damaged in 2018 and again recently.

They were expertly restored by Bushy Park Ironworks, Dublin. 

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 5 - Bollards

William Fraher, curator of Waterford County Museum continues this week with his series on the wealth of ironwork to be seen in Dungarvan and Abbeyside.  Lamp posts, boot scrapers, railings, balconies, post boxes, gates, bandstands, street name plaques, bollards, manhole covers and window guards.

A Load of Bollards

A distinctive feature of the quay in Dungarvan and the Causeway are the metal mooring bollards which were manufactured in Waterford.  The bollards on the quay are divided into two types – those with the maker’s name and date which are found between Garvey’s Supermarket and the bridge and towards the castle a set of plain unmarked ones.

Dungarvan Quay

Posts and chains on the Causeway early 1900s

In the 18th century there was no continuous quay from the bridge down past the castle. There were two small quays – the principal one George’s Quay was sited around the present Anchor Bar (of timber and rubble stone) and the other, Roderick’s Quay (of stone), was situated where the present castle car park is. 
These quays can be seen in the engraving of Dungarvan published in Charles Smith’s History of Waterford City & County 1746.   Early mooring bollards were probably large timber posts. In the 17th and 18th centuries old cannon were sometimes used.  In the early 1800s the 5th Duke of Devonshire and his son the 6th Duke embarked on a complete rebuilding of Dungarvan.  Part of this work included the construction of a new quay, bridge and causeway which were considered essential for the development of trade.  Jesse Hartley (1780-1860), (later the builder of Liverpool Docks) was employed to oversee the works.  The first phase involved a stretch of quay from the bridge as far as the present Moorings Bar.  The second section in front of the castle began in the 1860s.

The quay had to be rebuilt and repaired at least six times in 1855, 1864, 1869, 1886, 1901 and 1925.  It was probably during the 1901 repairs that the plain bollards were inserted. 

Late 19th century photographs show a line of posts and chains along the quay, just like those on the causeway, but they were all removed over the years.  These and the posts on the causeway are all stamped ‘Graham Waterford’.

Who made the bollards and posts?  Two Waterford foundries, Benjamin Graham, the Quay and James Moir of the Park Foundry.  In 1892 Grahams was described as an old-established firm which had been in operation for a century and started about 1788 by Benjamin Graham who was later succeeded by his son and grandson also called Benjamin.  In the 1890s it was noted in Stratten’s Directory that the factory did general millwrights’ work, heavy castings for mills, ships’ fittings, railways, iron gates etc.  The firm employed forty workers.

In 1884 James Moir established his Park Foundry in Bolton Street.  In 1892 it was noted that his son was also managing the firm.  The factory had an engineering shop, iron and brass foundry, millwrights’ shop, steam engine and boiler sheds.  The firm specialized in ‘heavy castings for the principal railway companies in the region.

Bollards and posts and chains on the quay c. 1910

Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 4 - The Bandstand, Dungarvan Town Park

William Fraher, curator of Waterford County Museum continues this week with his series on the wealth of ironwork to be seen in Dungarvan and Abbeyside.  Lamp posts, boot scrapers, railings, balconies, post boxes, gates, bandstands, street name plaques, bollards, manhole covers and window guards.

The Bandstand, Dungarvan Town Park

Detail of Bandstand roof with gas lights. Photo by Robert French c. 1900, N.L.I

Dungarvan Brass Band playing in the bandstand c. 1910

This structure is one of the largest ornamental cast-iron features in Dungarvan.  We have a lot of detail about the bandstand and its origins. How did it come to be erected?  In the 1890s Dungarvan was developing into a popular seaside resort.  This was facilitated by the opening of the railway in 1878. It was particularly popular with Tipperary people who were known as ‘Gaybricks’. 

Captain William Gibbons (1827-1893) left a bequest of £1,760 to the people of Dungarvan for the development of a new park and esplanade. Public parks were being developed all over the world and were considered essential for the health of the local population and an important attraction for visitors.  Dungarvan park was opened in 1895 with trees, lawns, pathways and ornamental seating. In April 1897 the Town Commissioners asked the Borough Surveyor, Michael Beary, to produce an estimate for a bandstand.  By June the Commissioners approved of a design to be supplied by the Scottish iron founders, William Macfarlane & Co.  The following week they advertised for local hardware merchants to quote for supplying this model.  

In July a deputation from the local brass band appealed to the Commissioners to go ahead with the erection of the band stand.  The Commissioners invited tenders for a 'metal band stand of octagon shape, with an iron roof but without a ceiling'.  On 5 August Michael Power's tender of £16 for erecting the structure was accepted.  George Stokes ordered the band stand components from MacFarlanes for which he was paid £61.

Bandstand ironwork MacFarlanes catalogue

Bandstand spire
Detail of Bandstand pillar
The band committee picked the following colours for the new band stand: Spire - gold; Roof - light green; Floating - white; Columns - bronze; Railings - light green; Cantilever - white. McFarlane also supplied glass lanterns for the band stand. 

In 1901 Dungarvan Urban District Council advertised Dungarvan as a health resort noting the new park and bandstand:

A new band stand has been erected…to accommodate the splendidly organised and highly trained Reed and Brass Band, whose performances under the efficient direction of Mr Hatton, late Bandmaster of the 13th Regiment, are the delight of all who hear them.  The band plays two evenings each week and from 4 to 6p.m. on Sundays. 

In the 1920s or 1930s the cast iron railings connecting the pillars were removed and replaced by single ugly looking bars and at the same time the floor space was extended.  In the 1990s the band stand was vandalised on a number of occasions in which the ornamental cornice was badly broken, and the remainder was removed.  The ornamental brackets projecting from the top of each pillar were also broken.  It is a great pity that what remained of the original work was not reproduced.  The only original features to remain are the pillars (which are stamped MacFarlane in raised lettering) and the terminal on top of the roof.  One improvement was the replacement of the modern railing with a period style design.

Further detail on the history of the park is available at www.waterfordmuseum.ie

Willie Burke repairing Bandstand 1950s

Repairing Bandstand roof 1980s

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