Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Merry Christmas from Waterford County Museum


             We would like to wish all our members and visitors a very Happy Christmas.

Our opening hours over Christmas are: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.   We will be closing at 1 p.m. 24th December 2020 and reopening on 4th January 2021.

Marble and Stone Memorials - Marble Memorial St. Mary's Church

Kiely monument

This monument commemorates the Kiely family of Dungarvan.  The main panel is inscribed:

“Mrs Mary Kiely Relict of Maurice Kiely of Dungarvan who died 1887 aged 67 years.  Erected in affectionate memory by her son the Rev. John V. Kiely, Pastor of the Church of the Transfiguration, Brooklyn, New York”.

The pedestal carries a statue of the Virgin standing on a cloud with Angel’s heads.  This is a unique monument as it was not carved in Ireland but was shipped from New York.  The carver was John G. Draddy (1833-1904) and his brother.  It is stamped on the base “Draddy Bros, New York”.  They were based in Broadway and did marble and bronze memorials.  John created a sculpture of Thomas Moore in Prospect Park and the bronze figures (1866) surrounding the Civil War monument in Calvery Cemetery which commemorates 21 Catholic soldiers who died of wounds in the Civil War.  They also carved the August Daly altar and Coleman memorial in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.  Draddy is an Irish surname, but John was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Rev. John Kiely was born in Dungarvan in 1847.  He was a graduate of Mount Melleray.  He was the youngest priest ever ordained for the diocese of Brooklyn at 22.   He was ordained on 24th June 1869 at All Hallows.  Soon after he was placed in charge of St. Mary's Church, Brooklyn.  In 1881 he took over the parish of The Transfiguration in the eastern district, where he oversaw the construction of a new church in 1892.  He had four brothers, Rev. Joseph of Chicago, Philip based in Australia, Maurice of Dungarvan and Edmund of Waterbury Conn.

Rev. J. M. Kiely died in August 1899.  There is a monstrance which was made for the Rev. Kiely in the museum.  

Rev. J. M. Kiely

Looking for Christmas Gifts? Buy Our Books


Special Offer on Waterford County Museum Books

Books Cost €20 each

Buy any 2 books for €35

Buy any 3 books for €50

Buy any 4 books for €60

Plenty of books in stock now for Christmas Gifts

Illustrated History of Dungarvan

By Edmund Keohan

Originally published in 1924, this new much expanded edition includes additional articles, an author biography, more photographs and annotations. 

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. 

All Waterford County Museum books are available to buy from the Book Centre, Waterford City and Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan priced €20. To buy them online search for "Waterford County Museum" on Amazon. Profits go towards supporting the museum. 


Marble and Stone Memorials

In this series we will take a look at a selection of grave memorials erected in the cemeteries of St Mary’s Parish Church, St Mary’s Church of Ireland, St Augustine’s and Abbeyside Church.

These are large stone or marble monuments to the clergy, merchants, and gentry of Dungarvan and district.  In the late 19th century Celtic crosses became very fashionable with elaborate interlacing.  These were inspired by the Celtic Revival.

The memorials are not all by local carvers and are executed by masons in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Liverpool etc.  Not all are marked with the maker’s name.  A local stone carver in the 19th century was John Atkins.  Patrick Molloy established his business in 1892 in Kilkenny city, Callan and Dungarvan.  There are many memorials by him in Dungarvan, including that to Edmond Power in the Town Park.  There are memorials by other firms such as: Burnell & Co, Dublin; Farrell & Son, Glasnevin; J. Collins, Waterford; and T. H. Dennamy, Marble Woks, Glasnevin.  It is important to make a visual record of these as we take their preservation for granted.  Age, weather and other threats means that many of them are now showing signs of wear and damage.  An example is one of the most impressive and elegant memorials which can be found in St Mary’s Parish church.  It Commemorates the Cody family and was badly damaged in 2019 when the top section collapsed.  It is one of the rare instances where we have a newspaper account of when it was constructed and who carved it.

The website www.historicgraves.com is a valuable resource for looking up grave memorials in Co Waterford and around Ireland as it also includes a photograph of every monument listed.

Ussher family memorial

Ussher family memorial, St. Mary's Church of Ireland

This monument in the shape of an obelisk was carved by Hastings of Anfield, Liverpool and commemorates the Ussher family of Canty House.  Related surnames also listed include Musgrave and Hearne.

Fosberry Evans Celtic Cross, St. Mary's Church of Ireland

Fosberry Evans Celtic Cross

This Celtic cross was erected in 1895 to commemorate William Fosberry Evans who was the manager of the National Bank in Dungarvan.  He died on 23 March 1895 aged 64 and his wife Mary H. died in 1901.

Celtic Cross, St. Augustine's, Friary St.

This cross commemorates Michael Power ‘donor to the church’.  He was a native of Tramore who had emigrated to Australia and eventually retired to live in Dungarvan where he resided with the mother of Bishop James Vincent Cleary in Main Street.  He donated vestments, church furnishings and a chalice to the Friary. In 1884 he paid the Marquis of Waterford for the ground on which the church stood.  He is the only lay person buried in the grounds of the church

Celtic Cross Rev Landy

This marble Celtic cross at St Augustine's church commemorates Rev Vincent Landy, O.S.A. who died in 1902 aged 39.  It was carved by Molloy of Callan & Dungarvan.


More Decorative Exterior Plasterwork in Dungarvan

Museum curator William Fraher continues this week with some more images of plasterwork in Dungarvan.

Dan McCarthy's, Main St.

Dan McCarthy's doorway

Emmett St. House plasterwork

Friary St doorway

Mitchel St. plasterwork

Old Bank plaster pillars

Old Friary College, Main St.

New Books for sale in the Museum

Liam Suipéil has just published a book about Saint Declan with gathers together stories, prayers, poetry and images illustrating the life of the saint.  The book is profusely illustrated with many photographs by the author and also a few from the museum’s image archive.  It is sure to be a popular book with visitors to Ardmore.  The book is for sale at €10.00.

Donald Brady’s new publication “Julia M. Crottie And Other Disparate Essays” is now also on sale in the museum. This book is the tenth title produced by Donald. It represents a culmination in a lifetime’s involvement with the history and heritage of county Waterford. The disparate essays range from the 17th to the 20th century and while most are historical narratives several are gleaned from the author’s own life experiences.  This limited edition book is for sale at €20.00.  

Museum has Reopened

 We are delighted to welcome back visitors to the museum.

Our opening hours are: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

We currently have a small exhibition on Edmond Keohan and his work.  Included in the display is a recent donation of three of Keohans’ original publications.  We are reorganising our displays and some sections are inaccessible at the moment.  We hope this will provide an improved visitor experience when completed. 

Irish Historic Towns Atlas


The Royal Irish Academy has just published Dungarvan as number 30 in their Irish Towns Atlas Series.  The museum was delighted to provide information and many of the illustrations for the atlas. Congratulations to the author John Martin and the Academy for producing such a wonderful publication which will be an essential reference work for anyone interested in the history of Dungarvan.  The Atlas will be launched on YouTube on 3rd December and the author was interviewed by Museum curator William Fraher.  The atlas is for sale at Garvey’s Supervalu and Easons or direct from the Royal Irish Academy website. 

The earliest map of Dungarvan featured in the Atlas is currently on display in the museum.

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

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