Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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The committee and staff of the museum were very sad to hear of the recent passing of John Young and we would like to extend our condolences to his family.  John made a notable contribution to preserving Dungarvan’s history with his publication “A Maritime and General History of Dungarvan 1690 – 1978”.  In later years John was best known as a tour guide.  He guided many groups around the town and imparted both his knowledge and love for the locality to them. For many visitors John’s tour was the highlight of their holiday.

Ar dheis Dé to raibh a anam.

Stories from Old Newspapers


Sceulta Micil An Rinn

All who have been to Ring Irish College have pleasant memories of the daily lesson that consisted of the telling of his life’s adventures at home and abroad by Micil O Muirgheasa, the college Seanchaí. These stories were written on the blackboard by one of the professors and copied into their notebooks by students. Many an earnest student had found material for a writer’s study of Irish the notebooks containing Micil’s stories. The wish was often expressed that some person would collect these stories and have them published in book form before Michil, who is now 73 years old, would pass away.

The task was taken up by ‘An Fear Mór’ [Seamas Ó hEochadha] of Ring College and this week we got the fruits of his labour in a handsome book published by the Educational Company of Ireland, containing twelve of Micil’s stories, and adorned with two striking photographs of Michil, one on the outer cover representing him in repose, and another as a frontispiece in which he was snapped relating on of his stories with a characteristic gesture and striking facial expression. That the twelve stories in the book are word for word as they came from Micil’s lips is all that need be said by way of recommending them as Irish of the first water. A striking feature of the language in the stories is its simplicity – a feature of all language spoken naturally and spontaneously in Irish is an interesting and helpful feature of the book. It runs to 75 pages and costs only 1/6.

Stories from Old Newspapers

 Dr Vincent A. Fitzsimon – Link with Lismore of the Past

Waterford News 13 July 1923

American exchanges chronicle the death of Dr Vincent A. Fitzsimon, of Lonsdale, Rhode Island, which had been for close on 40 years a successful medical practitioner in that town. Old-time residents of Lismore will remember the famous Academy conducted for many years by Prof. Andrew Fitzsimon, and, after his death, from 1863 to 1869, by his son and daughter, Vincent and Lizzie, among whose pupils were the present Governor General of the Irish Free-State, [Tim Healy], Miss Julia Crotty [author], Mr. Maurice Healy, ex M.P., Mr. Thomas C Walsh [poet], and other notables.

Born in Lismore in 1839, Dr Vincent was assistant to his father from 1859 to 1863, and then took over the school till 1869 when he decided to go to America. Having matriculated at Dublin University in 1868, he left his native town the following year, and within five years graduated M.D. at Bellevue Medical Hospital, New York. For 10 years he practiced at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, and settled in Lonsdale. Although pursuing a strenuous career he found time to write two learned works, ‘The Christ of Promise’ and ‘The Gods of Old’.

He married Miss Kate O’Grady of Lismore and had five children. The sons were Tom, Vincent and James, the two former being university professors, and the third a popular priest, Father James A. Fitzsimon, Rector of St. Brigid’s Church, Thornton, Rhode Island. Vigorous to the last, Dr Fitzsimon bore the weight of his 84 years lightly, and he died after a brief illness at the residence of his son Tom, in Providence…A solemn Requiem mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in St Paul’s Church, Providence. Over 20 priests were in the choir, and at the conclusion the remains were borne to St Joseph’s Cemetery, Ashton, where also lie his mother, his sister, and his eldest brother, Father James A. Fitzsimon. Dr Fitzsimon was an uncle of Chevalier Grattan Flood, Mus.D. (Enniscorthy), and of Professor Frank Flood of Roxburg, Mass.


New panels in the Museum

Our new panels are now in place in the art and photography sections.  We hope to further replace other existing panels with this new design.

Final Gallowshill Dig


The final Gallowshill dig took place between 27th August and 2nd September.  We are waiting to hear the results of any findings of interest.  Well done to Chrissy, Eddie and all the volunteers for the hard work on this project over the last few years.

Waterford County Museum would like to thank the Royal Irish Academy for their financial assistance.  Thanks also to the Heritage Council for their grant aid towards our new Gallowshill/Archaeology display in the museum.

Visits to Waterford County Museum

Jack Sheehan - a recent visitor to the museum

We always welcome visits from school groups to the museum.  Now that schools are reopened we are available from Monday to Friday 10.15 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.  If you would like to arrange for a group to visit the museum contact us on (058) 45960 or by email at: info@waterfordmuseum.ie

Stories from Old Newspapers

 First Hunt Ball at Curraghmore House

Waterford Standard, 14 January 1939

Curraghmore House was the delightful venue for the Waterford Hunt Ball on Wednesday night. This was the first Hunt Ball ever held in the famous mansion, and everyone present hoped it would not be the last!

The beauty and comfort of the surroundings, the joyful rhythm of Major Watts’ United Hunt Band, and the excellence of the food and wines, all combined to make the night one of uninterrupted gaiety.  There was a revival of an old-time custom, too.  It is years and years since I remember dance programmes being issued.  At Curraghmore the guests were given the dainty programmes with pencils attached, and they were able to book their partners in the real old-fashioned style.  Dancing was in the beautiful dining room, and an idea of its size may be gleaned from the fact that there were upwards of 100 couples present.

The supper was worthy of Lucullus.  In the elaborate menu, oysters were a particular favourite.  It only remains for me to apportion praise for the success to the Marchioness of Waterford for kindly placing Curraghmore House at the disposal of the committee, thereby causing a mighty upheaval in the stately home of the Beresfords, the warmest thanks are due.  Next, I must refer to Mrs Crosbie, the Hon. Secretary, hearty congratulations on the splendid way the whole dance was organized.  She has the happy knack of seeing every detail carefully arranged.  And finally, the ladies who assisted Mrs Crosbie deserve special mention: Lady Waterford, Mrs Odlum, Mrs Russell, Mrs Hudson, Mrs J.H. de Bromhead, Mrs Dempster, Mrs Hall, Healy and Miss Garraway.

New Archaeology Exhibition


Supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2021

Waterford County Museum is delighted to have our new Gallowshill and archaeology panels finally on display.  A big thank you to the Heritage Council for their Grant aid which includes a new bespoke museum standard display case which will be in place shortly.  The panels tell the history of the hill and the recent archaeological discoveries.  Also included are panels on the Dungarvan Valley Caves, the Vikings, and Medieval Dungarvan. 

As part of Heritage Week a selection of finds from Gallowshill are also on display.


Supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2021


Stories from Old Newspapers

‘How to make children Irish speakers’

Waterford News 5 September 1919

The Ring Irish College authorities have done splendid and eminently practical service to the Irish language revival movement by their decision to establish at Ring Residential College, a school wholly destined to making Irish speakers of Irish children whose parents do not speak Irish, or who cannot secure Irish speaking nurses.  The school supplies what really has been a long-felt want.  Children from 7 to 12 years old pick up Irish very quickly when they hear no other language spoken around them. A couple of sessions at Ring Irish School would make a child a fluent speaker and give him or her a good literary knowledge of the language.

The children will be taught to speak, read, and write Irish, and in addition they will receive instructions in Christian doctrine, arithmetic, geography, elementary science, nature study, etc.  Apart from its national value, the good knowledge of Irish they will acquire at college will be a valuable educational asset in their later studies.

The college is splendidly situated by the seaside.  The health, comfort, and general welfare of the children will receive every attention from the matron and lady teachers.  A doctor resides near the college and will visit the children every day.  Irish parents who wish their children to have a thorough knowledge of the national language, have now a splendid chance to give them that priceless treasure.  The Prospectus and all information required can be had from the Secretary, Irish College, Ring, Co Waterford.      


An Introduction to Stradbally Church

The booklet “An Introduction to Stradbally Church” published by Stradbally Church Ruins Committee 2021 is now on sale in the museum.  Profits from the sale of the booklet will go towards the ongoing conservation of the medieval church.  Cost of the booklet is €5


Stories from Old Newspapers

President Mary Robinson planting a tree in Villierstown, held by James Villiers-Stuart, on 3 March 1992. Photo by Rory Wyley.

‘The historic old house echoed with the sound of merry voices and cheerful laughter’

James Villiers-Stuart Comes of Age - Dungarvan Observer 7 January 1950

The historic house of Dromana…in its long history has seen many festive occasions but few, if any, equaled that seen on New Year’s Night when the old mansion rang to the welcome accorded to Mr James Villiers Stuart at the celebrations held to mark his coming of age and formal taking over of the property.  At 7 o’clock estate employees and many residents of the district to the number of 300 assembled in the vicinity of the house.  A burst of cheering heralded the coming of the ‘young master’ and led by the Villierstown Piper’s Band playing a triumphal march, Mr Villiers Stuart, escorted by his guests, entered Dromana House.

When all were assembled in the library the evening’s proceedings began when a presentation was made to Mr Villiers Stuart by the estate employees…an oak Westminster chiming clock and barometer.  The presentation was made by Mr A. Dawson, estate manager…Mr Thomas Ormond, the oldest employee, also spoke and in well-chosen words referred ‘to the happy associations that had always existed between the owners of Dromana and those who were fortunate enough to serve them. ‘I know’, said Mr Ormond, ‘that this happy state of affairs will long continue’.  Mr Villiers Stuart, replying, thanked the donors for their beautiful gifts.  Referring to the great loss he had sustained through the early deaths of his beloved parents, Mr Stuart said that his loss had been tempered by his great friends in Dromana, and most particularly by Mr Dawson, who had acted towards him with the devotion and generosity of a father, and Mrs Declan Morrissey, his faithful housekeeper who had mothered him with great affection.

Speaking of the many problems and difficulties which faced owners of large properties and the fact that the number of employees was not as great as in bygone days, Mr Stuart said he hoped to extensively develop his property and thus give more employment…To two of the older hands, Mr Thomas Ormond and Mr Michael Morrissey, he paid special thanks, asking each to accept from him a cheque in recognition of their long and faithful service.

Dancing to the strains of the Villierstown String Orchestra, then began, and the historic old house echoed with the sound of merry voices and cheerful laughter…Several of the guests sang, Mrs A O’Connell, Miss B Carroll, Mr M Ronayne, all of Villierstown.  A sumptuous sit-down supper was served.  The catering was supervised by Mrs Reynolds…Dancing continued to the early hours and a memorable night ended with the singing of ‘Old Lang Syne’  and ‘The Soldiers Song’.

Museum display stand in the Park Hotel


The museum was invited this week by the Park Hotel to have a display stand in their foyer. The stand had information for hotel guests about Waterford County Museum.  We had photos of our current exhibitions and copies of the museum books which we have on sale.

We also gave the children copies of the Sail 75 Children’s Photo Trail Quiz.  The closing date for the quiz is 3rd September and the quiz sheets are still available at the museum.  All are welcome to call in for the quiz sheets and find the answers to the questions in the windows around Grattan Square.




Children's Photo Trail Quiz

Waterford County Museum has organised a fun Children’s Quiz to celebrate Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club’s Sail 75 anniversary.  Just call to the Museum to pick up your copy of the questions, then find the answers in the 30 old sailing photos in the windows around Grattan Square and drop them back to us.

The closing date is 3rd September.

There are prizes available for the quiz winners!  Good luck to everyone!


Schools in Lismore 1824 Part III

There is no apparent animosity in Lismore, between the Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy or population.  The archdeacon and vicars here give a very favourable report of the priest, and he seems to have no jealousy of them.  The Duke of Devonshire is very liberal, in every sense of the word, - expends large sums on roads, bridges, and other public improvements, both here and on his estates in Youghal and Bandon…and though he patronizes the Cork Hibernian Society, and the Kildare-Street Society, on his estates, the Roman Catholic clergy manifest no open hostility to their operations in this quarter.  His Grace bestows ground for building churches and chapels, an application either from persons of the Church of Ireland, or of the Roman Catholic communion and subscribes towards their support; the former as the established religion, the latter as that of the mass of the population.  With respect to Presbyterian or protestant Dissenters, no similar application has yet been made from these bodies.  Lismore is an open field for the Dissenting Societies; being entirely neglected by the wealthy dignitaries of the Diocesan Church, and their employees.  We passed the afternoon at Lismore Castle, with Colonel C’s. family; the castle is beautifully placed.

20 October 1824

Went with Colonel C. by Tallagh (sic) to Youghal…Amassing proofs of his popularity with the inhabitants of this rude country- all the huts near the road pouring out their half-naked swarms of children, who followed the carriage as long as they could run, merely repeating his name- all the Saxon, probably, which they know.  Many improvements begun, even in this bare region; enclosures; stone houses on a few of the farms, draining, and other marks of culture on the Dukes’ lands; and notable contract between these and the Deanery and the Church Lands, which intersect them near Lismore, and which are in the rudest neglect, being let and re-let merely to the highest bidder, without anything expended to ameliorate them.  The plan of rack-rent, and continued expulsion of tenantry thence resulting, is surely in all cases a miserable policy, as well as an occasion of much cruelty and oppression… We returned to Lismore. Col C. showed me an extract of the will and settlement of Richard, Earl of Cork, bequeathing funds for the support of his Free Schools, founded by him at Lismore and Youghal; but in the deed there is no farther specification, or condition explanatory of their object. They are now chiefly called classical schools; and the masters do not hold themselves bound to teach any scholar gratis. 


The museum would like to extend its sympathies to the family of museum member Kathleen Phelan who recently passed away.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.


Lismore Schools in 1824 Part II

The Douay Testaments only are used; the three Scripture Classes, from 50 to 60, read a lesson in the Testament daily, and commit to memory four chapters at least in the quarter of the year – the specimens of reading very good.  Some of the girls taught to work lace on bobbins.  Mr D., one of the Kildare-Street inspectors (a Roman Catholic gentleman), happened to be present to-day, on his tour of inspection.  He considers the union of this school with the London Hibernian Society, of which the Cork Hibernian Society is a branch, or with any other Education Society, as injurious to the plan of the Kildare-Street and leading to the supposition of the latter being a proselytizing body, which is the character given to the London Hibernian.  He allowed, however, that the Kildare-Street rules are correctly adhered to in this school.

Mr D. objects equally to any school connected with the Kildare-Street Society being also in unison with the trustees of Erasmus Smith, who require the master, in all cases, to be a Protestant; or with the Parochial Schools, because in these the Catechism must be taught, and the teacher is the parish clerk; or with the Capel Street Association, for similar reasons.  He conceives, however, that the Cork Branch of the London Hibernian Society is the most liberal, and their management the least objectionable to the Roman Catholics.

Visited the endowed Classical School of Lismore, an ancient foundation by the Earls of Cork, now vested in the Duke of Devonshire.  Exterior of building and premises good and fair, but the interior rotten; ample accommodation, and wide playground, with large schoolroom lately built by the Duke.  But the school is declining, or rather has long ago declined; seems the common penalty in Ireland of all fostering endowments.  The master could receive 40 boarders, now he has only 13.  He once had the former number, but they were made up of boys who came with him from Fermoy, where he taught as an assistant.   

New Publication: The Revolutionary - Pat Keating of Comeragh

This publication was written by David Prendergast and Katie Dee.  They were the founders in 2020 of the local history blog: Kilrossanty Remembers.  The book has an introduction by well-known historians Sean and Síle Murphy and was made possible with assistance from the Decade of Centenaries Community Projects Funding from Waterford City & County Council.

Many people pass by the simple monument to Pat Keating and Seán Fitzgerald situated by the side of the N25 beyond the Burgery and are perhaps unaware of its significance.  Keating and Fitzgerald were killed during the Burgery Ambush which took place in March 1921.  Pat Keating is one of the most familiar republican names of this period in West Waterford.  The authors tell us that he was also a footballer, poet, activist, leader, and revolutionary.  He was the author of the poems Comeragh’s Rugged Hills and The Cross of Old Piltown.

The authors have told Keating’s story in an engaging way using original documents, witness statements, interviews and many illustrations, a number supplied from the museum’s image archive.  There is a letter from the Keating family on display in the museum dated May 1922 thanking the Lismore Board of Guardians for their resolution in relation to Ireland’s martyrs.

The book is very attractively designed and printed and well-illustrated. The proceeds from sales are going to the mental health charity Suicide or Survive: www.suicideorsurvive.ie

Copies are selling fast and are available for sale at 10 from Waterford County Museum.

Unveiling of the monument at the Republican Plot, Kilrossanty on Easter Sunday 20th April 1930

Schools in Lismore 1824 - Part 1

 James Glassford, Notes of Three Tours in Ireland in 1824 and 1826, Bristol 1832.

James Glassford (1771-1845) was a Scottish legal writer and traveller.

Proceeded to Kilmacthomas and Stradbally, to Dungarvan, and thence by Cappoquin to Lismore…Kilmacthomas…one of the rudest and most unpleasing districts yet passed; met here a party of the mounted constabulary employed in searching suspected quarters for arms, but had found none to-day; usual to make trial for this purpose in the corn and peat stacks, said to be a common repository; but were also proceeding over the fields and enclosures, the scenery of this stage bare and scowling, without appearance of culture.

October 19 Lismore

Visit from Col. Currey; the intelligent and active manager, and moral agent of the Duke of Devonshire on his great estates in this part of Ireland.  A peculiarity of Irish Post Office, which it had reached two days before; informed an inquiry that letter received in the country offices of Ireland, are not carried out, or delivered by the postmaster: so that unless called for, they remain sine die

It has been observed that the older priests are more easily managed and more temperate in their opposition to the Education Societies, than those recently appointed; the greatest violence and most strenuous opposition come from the young men educated at Maynooth…In private classical and boarding schools, intermixture of Protestant and Roman Catholic seems to create little animosity…The Roman Catholic clergy do not interfere with these; perhaps from a knowledge that, with the upper classes of the laity, it would be ineffectual…

Visited with Col. C., the Cork Hibernian Society’s Free School, built in 1821 by the Duke of Devonshire, for boys and girls.  Large and excellent establishment, as to accommodation; with the singular exception of the entrance being in an unfinished and even dangerous state, from want of any fence to the outer stair, which is high…Houses for the master and mistress. Teacher trained in Kildare-Street Model School. Present, today, 135 boys, 121 girls, all Roman Catholic, with exception of 8 boys and 2 girls.

To be continued…

Explore Dungarvan's Maritime History


This year Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club celebrates 75 years of existence as a sailing and boating club and are organising a wide range of onshore and offshore events during the summer months.  Waterford County Museum is taking part in a joint project with the club to commemorate this success.

Can you find all 30 old sailing photos around Grattan Square?

A French Lady's Visit to Lismore


Three Months Tour in Ireland by Madam De Bovet, Translated and edited by Mrs Arthur Walter, London 1891.  Anne Marie De Bovet was a French novelist and travel writer who married the Marquis de Bois-Hébert but wrote under her maiden-name.  She wrote three books on Ireland.

Lismore is a clean little town, the aspect of which is refreshing to eyes wearied with poverty and rags.  If as some would have us believe, the ills of Ireland are to be entirely ascribed to the negligence or rapacity of landlords, the comfortable appearance of Lismore does honour to the Duke of Devonshire.

Neat low houses, mostly of one storey, stand in well- kept streets, their fronts white-washed, and embowered in clematis, laurels, myrtles, and fuchsias.  The windows have curtains of red calico, and seen through open doors, are dressers well-polished and furnished with store of pottery.  The people are comfortably clad, not too ragged, and almost clean.  Beggars are comparatively rare; and if the children go barefoot, that is an affair of fashion rather than of necessity.  Many of them being dressed in gaudy tartans and cashmeres, the boys wearing caps and the girls adorned with ribbons tied round tresses that really appear to be combed daily.

Though residing [The Duke of Devonshire] but little in Lismore – where, however, some of his family come every year for shooting or change of air – he is popular in the county.  The magnificent park of Lismore is hospitably open to the public; and one may pass delicious hours in the shadow of gigantic beeches or wandering by the swift flowing river.  Upon picturesque elevations, covered with trees, villas succeed one another all the length of the river.


Visit from Dungarvan Youthreach


From left: Chloe Butler, Shane Duggan, Dylan Walsh and Marcus Fallen enjoying the exhibits in the museum

A group from Dungarvan Youthreach visited the museum recently.  They were given a guided tour by the curator William Fraher.  We welcome visits from schools, community groups and local history societies.  Contact the museum to arrange a time for the visit.


Cancellation of Annual Book Sale

We are unfortunately unable to have our annual book sale this year and therefore we cannot take in any books.  Hopefully next year the book sale will go ahead as usual. 



Sculpture at the Grotto in Ring

 In our recent post about the Nano Nagle sculpture in Dungarvan we mentioned that it was carved by Domhnall Ó Murchadha, R.H.A. (1914-1991) who also carved a sculpture of ‘Our Lady and Saint Bernadette’ which can be seen in the grotto in Shanakill, Ring.  The opening ceremony for the grotto took place in 1964.

Here are some photos taken at the opening ceremony.

Lá coisreachan na Neona sa tSean-Chill, Rinn Ó gCuanach, 1964.

Ar cúl, ó chlé: Seán Mac Craith (Cnocán an Phaoraigh), Muiris de Róiste, Pádraig Ó Corraoin, Domhnall (Danny) Ó Murchadha, Muiris Tóibín, Michéal Ó Catháin, J. J. Ó Corraoin, an Sáirsint Ó Maolruaidh, Séamus Ó Lonáin (Séamus Óg ina bhaclainn aige), Risteard Turraoin, an tAth. Ó Domhnaill, SP, Séan Ó Síothcháin, an tAiltire, an tAth. Victor de Paor, Gearóid Ó Coinn (Heilbhic), Pádraig Ó Druacháin, Pádraig de Faoit.

 Chun tosaigh: Pádraig Ó Druacháin (agus gearrchaile ina bhaclainne aige), Tomás Mac Eoin, Seán Ó Manacháin, Michéal Ó Manacháin (idir an dá gharsún, Michéal Óg Ó Manacháin, Donnchadh Ó Maonaigh, Seán Mac Craith (Baile Uí Chorraoin), Pádraig Ó Corraoin (Peaidí Pheats), Seán Tóibín (athair Mhuiris), ----.

Group at the opening ceremony with Father De Paor

View of crowd at opening ceremony at the Grotto

Stories from Old Newspapers

 “Tarrin” in Cappoquin

Waterford News 2/3/1900

In this connection, an old time-honoured, if objectionable, custom was extensively preserved here years go, but, like most old customs, is now a thing of the past, and it is no harm.

I refer to the custom of “tarrin” – the houses of unmarried men and women as a punishment for allowing the Shrovetide to pass without getting married, and when this was in vogue, the unmarried members amongst the inhabitants used often remain up for nights watching their houses, but despite all the vigilance, the “tar boys” were in most cases too quick, as could be seen next morning, when a fine “man” or “woman”, as the case may be, would adorn their walls, and which in many cases possessed a considerable amount of artistic merit.  Several newly-painted walls were often destroyed in this manner with tar, and few can therefore regret that the custom has fallen into disuse, as it did not even possess the redeeming quality of ever, in a single instance, induce any persons to marry for the purpose of saving their walls.


Dan Fraher's Makeover

The man whom the Fraher Field is named after lived at 17 Grattan Square where he had a drapery shop named The Gaelic Outfitting Store.  This shop is now The Wine Buff.  In 2014 the paintwork was removed from beneath the shop window and a panel of tiles was revealed to everyone’s surprise.  It is inscribed: ‘D. Ua Fearacair’ in an Irish script.  In early photographs the shop has the name in English.

We now know when the tiles were put in place.  The Waterford News published an account of the renovations in August 1900:

Both the interior and exterior of Mr Daniel Fraher’s establishment at Dungarvan presents a very handsome appearance having been lately renovated.  Mr Fraher, who fluently speaks the native tongue and takes a deep and loving interest in its spread, is the only shopkeeper in the Old Borough at present who has his name in Irish letters outside his establishment.

It is nice to see that the panel of tiles has been preserved as there are only a few such panels remaining in Dungarvan.

Donations for new picture gallery area

Car Travelling in the South of Ireland 1856 by Michael Angelo Hayes

Two rare lithographs by Charles Newport Bolton

We were delighted to receive donations for our new picture gallery area which features the work of Waterford artists.  The latest pictures are a hand coloured print by Michael Angelo Hayes - Car Travelling in the South of Ireland 1856.  Also, we received two rare lithographs by the little known artist Charles Newport Bolton of Faithlegg.

Hidden in Plain Sight - Nano Nagle Sculpture


Nano Nagle carving (photo courtesy of Chris Mulcahy)

One of the most important public pieces of sculpture in Dungarvan is easily missed by most people as it is not on the public thoroughfare.  It can be found set into the wall of Scoil Naomh Seosaibh at the Presentation Convent in Mitchel Street.

The relief sculpture in limestone contrasts with the background sandstone of the school wall.  It depicts Nano Nagle holding a book, with a boy and girl at her feet. Who sculpted it?

It was carved by Domhnall O Murchadha, R.H.A. (1914-1991).  He was a native of Carrigrohane, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.  He studied at the Crawford School of Art in Cork and then in 1939 the National College of Art where he studied under Laurence Campbell.  In 1943 he won the Purser-Griffith scholarship in the History of European Painting which allowed him to study in Florence.  In 1943 he along with other students designed and made costumes etc., for the Laurence Olivier film Henry V which was filmed at Powerscourt estate.  In 1945 he received the first of many church commissions. This included in 1964 a sculpture of ‘Our Lady and Saint Bernadette’ for Ring church.

He was acting director of the National College of Art & Design from which post which he retired in 1980.  He died on 8 January 1991 in Dublin.

Local papers recorded the official opening of the school on 8 September 1960 by Diarmaid O Hegarty, Divisional Inspector of Schools.  A stone plaque on the school building notes that the Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, the Most Rev. D Cohalan D. D., performed the official blessing for the start of the construction on 13 September 1959. This coincided with the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the convent.  The school building was designed by Guy, Moloney & Associates, Dublin.

photo courtesy of Chris Mulcahy

The Irish Silver Museum

The Irish Silver Museum was recently opened in the Viking Quarter in Waterford city by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.  It is part of the Museum of Treasures and is now the fifth museum in the Viking Triangle of Waterford City.  It is located in The Deanery, Cathedral Square, next to the Medieval Museum.  The museum celebrates the craft and skill of the silversmiths who created the items on display from the arrival of the Vikings to our entry to the E.E.C. in 1973. It is open from 9.15 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.   

Visit from St. Joseph's Primary School summer camp

Students from St. Joseph's Primary School with their teacher Sarah Enright and Museum staff member Tony Hayes

We always welcome visits from school groups.  We recently had a visit from St Joseph’s Primary School, Dungarvan.  The boys along with their teacher Sarah Enright were given a tour of the museum by staff member Tony Hayes.  If groups from schools or summer camps would like to visit the museum just let us know the date and time you would like to visit. The phone number is 058 45960. 

Shipwrecks in Dungarvan


Waterford News 5 April 1850.

Dungarvan, 4 April 1850

We have had very stormy weather here for the last week, accompanied with heavy rain, which still continues to fall in torrents.  The tide rose very high and broke across the fields at Abbeyside as far as the new road.

The vessels were driven ashore in Ardmore Bay on Saturday last.  One of them (the brig ‘Grace’, of Newcastle, Captain Thompson, and bound to Cork from Alexandria) was laden with wheat, and the other with iron.  The crew of the latter were all saved by the exertions of the Ardmore fishermen, who bravely risked their own lives in rescuing them from a watery grave.  Nine of the hands of the Grace were unfortunately lost, and two only were saved.  She became a total wreck, and her cargo was all destroyed.  Some portion of it was scattered on the beach and carried away.  The iron-laden vessel was much injured, but she may be yet got out of the bay.

The brig ‘Kate’, of Dublin, Captain William. C. Mason, bound from Cadiz to Dublin, laden with wine and corkwood, was through stress of weather, obliged to take a pilot at Helvick Head, on Friday evening to bring her into this pool.  The gale was so strong that she dragged her anchor, and drifted up on the black strand, where she now lies in a dangerous position.  Crew were saved, and the cargo has been discharged by J. Dower, Esq., Lloyd’s agent for this port.  Great merit is due to Lieutenant Carmichael for the services he rendered in this case.

The schooner ‘Hibernia’, of Youghal, laden with coals, bound for Newport from Youghal, was near being stranded at the pool of this harbour on the evening of the 29th, and had to slip her anchor.  She soon after got in here having lost a part of her sails, and with eight feet of water in her hold.  



Callum, Hollie and Amanda Ryan from Thurles

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10.15 a.m. to 4.45 p.m. each day. 

Throughout the year and especially during the school holidays we welcome visits from families.  This week Callum and Hollie Ryan with their mother Amanda from Thurles, Co.Tipperary enjoyed our exhibitions.

Let there be Light - The first street lighting in Dungarvan 1851


Maurice Flynn's Hardware Store, Main St, with a gas street light in the foreground

Extract from: Waterford News 2 January 1852.

Dungarvan did not have fully lit streets until 1860 when the Dungarvan Gas Consumers Co. was established.  Michael Mahony lived in Mary Street [then William Street] and was also a ship owner and Town Commissioner. He died from a fall from the top floor of his house.

Dungarvan Dec. 30 1851

Our enterprising and spirited townsman, Mr. Michael Mahony, merchant, has purchased four splendid lamps for the use of the public, and has placed them in William Street.

They were lit on the night of the 24th inst, amidst the cheers and acclamations of the people, who assembled on the occasion to witness so novel a scene in this town, where the eye of a spectator never beheld such a treat, during the dreary dark and dismal winter nights.  There have been many valuable lives lost here these years past, in consequence of having no lights to guide the footsteps of the stranger, or the unwary traveller passing through dirty or impassable streets.  And obliged to remain inside doors, rather than endanger his life.  This has not been the first kind act that this generous and noble-minded man has done to render a service to this town, and I hope and trust that other merchants will imitate this good and humane example, to set up a few more in the other streets; most particularly on the Quay where lives have been lost – and at all hours of the night persons are in imminent danger of walking over it, as there has been no precautionary measures adopted to preclude the possibility of any such danger occurring.

J. Mc C.

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