Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Dungarvan's Ironwork Heritage Part 9 - Lamps

Dungarvan’s Ironwork Heritage – Part 9

Another in the series on the wealth of ironwork to be seen in Dungarvan and Abbeyside by William Fraher, curator of Waterford County Museum - lamp posts, boot scrapers, railings, balconies, post boxes, gates, bandstands, street name plaques, bollards, manhole covers and window guards.  

Drawing by W. Fraher of lamp in Dirty Lane

Gas light outside Maurice Flynn's, Main Street,, c. 1910


The establishment of the Dungarvan Gas Works saw the erection of cast iron lamp posts throughout the town.  In January 1857 William Morley Stears, Gas Engineer and Contractor, London, wrote to the Town Commissioners offering to establish a gas works in the town.  The following month the Commissioners decided to form a committee to ascertain from the shopkeepers and ratepayers if they would buy shares at £5 each.  In March, Frances E. Curry, agent to the Duke of Devonshire in Lismore wrote to the Commissioners suggesting they hold a public meeting and he would attend and inform them to what extent the duke would contribute towards the project.  He did not recommend Mr. Morley Stears.

By 1 February 1858 there was a list of 35 shareholders.  Andrew Carbery had twenty shares, the highest number.  The shareholders consisted of the most prominent Dungarvan citizens such as: John R. Dower, Patrick Cody, Richard Garde Hudson, Henry Anthony, Rev. Father Halley, P.P., Benjamin Purser, etc.

The actual Gas Works was not established until November 1859 when the Commissioners noted that permission was to be given to John Hollwey, Gas Contractor, ‘to open the streets of the Town for the purpose of laying down his Gas Mains etc’.

Patrick McCarthy, Secretary of the Dungarvan Gas Consumers Company Ltd., wrote to the Town Commissioners on 12 January 1860 as follows:
‘Sir, the Directors of the above Company propose to the Town Commissioners to light, extinguish, and keep clean, 50 or if required 60 street-lamps for 9 winter months…at the rate of £3 per lamp.  The gas to be produced from equal parts of the best Newcastle and Cardiff coals’.

The Gas Works became defunct with the establishment of the Dungarvan Electric Light Company in 1921.  These cast iron lamps can be seen in old photographs of the town.  The last remaining post could be seen at the top of St Brigid’s Terrace up until the 1980s when it was sadly removed. Smaller versions of these lamp posts can still be seen on top of the bridge and are stamped with the mark of a Dublin iron foundry.  A very decorative gas light base still survives on the perimeter wall at St Mary’s Parish Church. It was made by MacFarlane of Glasgow.

Detail of lamp pump base, Dirty Lane

Base of lamp and pump, Dirty Lane, originally in Grattan Square

19th century lamp on Dungarvan bridge

Cast iron lamp by MacFarlane, St. Mary's Parish Church, Dungarvan

Lamp and pump, Grattan Square, 1890s. Image: N.L.I.
The St. Mary's Church lamp standard from MacFarlane's catalogue
The last lamp post, Mitchel Street

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