Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 11 - Wrought Iron Gates

Wrought Iron Gates - St. Mary's Church of Ireland

These gates are the oldest pieces of wrought iron remaining in Dungarvan.  We are fortunate that we have details of their construction from the Vestry minutes dated 8 July 1795:
The several sums of Twelve pounds for an Iron-gate to the church-yard, and the sum of Eight pounds for finishing the flagging of the Ayles of the church, and completing the railing in of the Chancel & a new Communion table, and repairing the Church-yard wall & completing the Bulwark..

The cemetery contains one of the oldest remains of a non-domestic building in Dungarvan.  A surviving gable of the pre-Reformation parish church of St Mary the Virgin, records of which exist from the 1300s.  In the 17th century this church was mostly destroyed during the Cromwellian occupation of Dungarvan. The Dungarvan historian Charles Smith noted in 1746:
Formerly the Parish Church was a large building with a high steeple, but the whole was demolished by Cromwell. It is at present rebuilt on the ground where the chancel of the Old Church stood.

This 18th century building was replaced or rebuilt in the 1830s with a Gothic style church designed by James Pain and built with a grant from the Board of First Fruits.  The plans and elevations dated 1835 can be viewed on:  archdrawing.ireland.anglican.org However, planning for the church began in February 1825 when the vestry meeting approved a plan by James Pain to enlarge and improve the existing church.  It is possible that Pain did not start from scratch and in fact remodeled the existing structure.

The main gates have lost their central curlicue ornament which should be replaced.  There is also a smaller side gate of the same pattern.  The main gates hang from fine sandstone pillars. Unfortunately, this fine period piece is marred by poles and signs at present and their repositioning should be considered.

The iron railings with two gates which flank either side of the path through the cemetery were the subject of much controversy when they were erected in 1910.  This path was viewed as a right of way by locals, but the cemetery was being used to graze donkeys, horses, goats and mules and card playing on the tombs was a regular occurrence!  It was all the subject of a court case.

Drawing by W. Fraher

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