Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Marble and Stone Memorials - Patterson Memorial, St. Mary's Parish Church

At the back of St Mary’s Church is an impressive granite memorial with an obelisk on top.  It commemorates the Patterson family of Dungarvan.  The monument is signed by the makers: ‘Farrell & Son Glasnevin’.  They were well-known monumental sculptors in 19th century Dublin.  The firm was run by John Farrell and his son Peter and they were described as ‘Tombstone manufacturers, Marble Merchants and Sculptors’.  John was the brother of the sculptor Terrence Farrell (1798-1876).

The memorial has white marble panels which contain the following inscriptions:

Erected to the memory of Edward Patterson A.B., London University, Eldest son of Edward Patterson, who died on the 27th day of September 1859 aged 25 years.

In memory of Edward Patterson who died the 15th of May 1856 in the 60th year of his life, his daughter Elizabeth Catherine who died the 11th November 1852 aged 14 years. His son Michael who died July 1831 aged 2 years. J……. Mary Agnes Patterson died 11 January 1865.

It is striking to note the young ages at which all the family died. 

Who were the Pattersons?  Edward the father, was a pawnbroker who had a house in Blackpool according to Slater’s Directory 1846.  In the official Returns relating to pawnbrokers’ year ending 1844 Edward is noted as having registered as a pawnbroker on 4 March 1831.  He had sold 35,139 ‘Tickets’ and had lent sums amounting to £6,139.6.4 .  In 1836 it was noted that Edward was resident in Blackpool and had a valuation of £10. By 1856 his address was Devonshire Square.  He may also have had shops in Clonmel and Fermoy as an Edward Patterson pawnbroker is listed for these towns in the 1844 returns of pawnbrokers.

How many children were in the Patterson family?  The memorial lists three and in the Letters of Administration (5 April 1860) for the estate of Edward junior his next of kin is noted as Rev. Michael Joseph Patterson of Dungarvan.  It noted that Edward died (a Bachelor) in Clonmel and left an estate valued at under £4,000.

Marble and Stone Memorials - Sherin Family Memorial, St. Mary's Church of Ireland

This is one of the most elegant monuments in St Mary’s Church of Ireland cemetery with its classical design.
  The square base contains panels for inscriptions and on top is an urn with a flame.  Unfortunately, the stonemason is not known.  While the monument may be signed it is not immediately visible.

The inscriptions on the panels read:

Erected by Catherine Sherin in memory of her Daughters Kate and Margaret Sherin. Kate who died January 17th 1839 aged 21 Years. Margaret Feb 10th 1839 aged 19 Years.

John Sherin died 5 March 1831 age 34.  Catherine died 11 January 1869 aged 77.

It is of interest to note that both daughters died in the same year.  Who were the Sherin family? Catherine had a business on Grattan Square as a draper/haberdasher/hatter in the building which was formerly the post office.  The earliest reference to her is in 1846 when she contributed £1 to the Dungarvan Famine Relief fund.  In 1849 the Dungarvan Union purchased clothing from her at a cost of £5.15.9. for workhouse orphans who were being sent to South Australia. In 1852 she also contributed to a relief fund for the families of a number of local men who were drowned in the bay.  A John Sherin was a coroner in Dungarvan in1830 and may have been her husband.  Her shop appears in one of the earliest photographs in the museum’s image archive.

Sherin shop on Grattan Square

The Late Spencer Welsh

William Fraher, Nioclás Ó Gríobhthain with Spencer Welsh in 2019

It was with great sadness that we were informed last December that Spencer Welsh had died at his home in Essex.  Spencer had spent a lifetime researching his family history which included the Welshs of Killongford, Woodstock, Pilltown, Glenard, etc.  The family left their main residence at Woodstock in the 1870s.  He completed his magnum opus on the family with his 1,000 page book titled: ‘A History of Walsh Illustrated’. It must be one of the largest family history books ever published in one volume.  He visited the museum in November 2019 with his wife Jill to show us the finished work of which he was so proud.  I was delighted to make initial contact with him all those years ago in 1988 when we received a letter at the museum asking if we knew anything about the family.  By coincidence on that very day, I had been searching for the remains of the Welsh family home at Killongford.  Spencer spent many years in archives and meeting people who knew something about the various branches of the family.  In later years he was fortunate to meet with the late Don Lehane who carried out extensive research in the Kinsalebeg area, the results of which can be seen on his website www.kinsalebeg.com.  Spencer was also a graphic artist and his book contains many of his watercolours of Welsh properties.  We offer our sympathies to his wife Jill and family.

Marble and Stone Memorials - Cody Monument, St Mary's Parish Church

The Cody family were important Catholic merchants in Dungarvan throughout the 19th century and Cody’s Quay at The Lookout is named after them.

The Waterford News of 11 December 1863 published a detailed report on the erection of a memorial to Patrick Cody in St Mary’s Parish Church cemetery. Cody was one of the wealthiest Dungarvan merchants along with John R Dower and Andrew Carbery. In 1855 he was elected as one of the first Town Commissioners. He had many business interests, butter and bacon merchant, coal dealer, ship owner, grocer, and ship chandler.  

‘A handsome monument has been erected in the new chapel yard of this town by William Cody, Esq., merchant to the memory of his beloved father Patrick Cody, merchant. The design is in the modern Gothic style, most admiringly executed…since thrown open to view hundreds have visited the place, and all have pronounced it a masterpiece of art in its way, which reflects great credit on the designer and the parties who in Dublin so tastefully executed the work. It stands about twenty feet high…the superstructure is raised about five feet high, and on each side there is a black slab neatly polished, set in Gothic arches…in the centre stands a beautiful and admirable figure of the Blessed Virgin, in white Carrara marble. A spire about twelve feet high terminating with a very handsome cross. The pallisading which surrounds the monument is in the hands of a competent person’.

The monument has the following inscriptions:
Patrick Cody died January 10th 1863, aged 62 years. Margaret Cody his wife died January 31st 1840, aged 38 years. Their children, Nicholas died in infancy, Stephen Patrick died July 2 1858 aged 23. William Joseph died January 8 1870 aged 33, Philomena died December 15 1902.   

Margaret Cody died January 13th 1917, aged 88 years. Hannah Frances Cody died 27 February 1922. 

The article noted that both Patrick and his son William had paid for parts of the internal decoration of the church.Hannah and Frances were unmarried and lived at South Terrace. 

The monument was badly damaged in 2019 when the top section fell over, damaging parts of the stonework but all the pieces are still at the base of the structure. The statue of the Blessed Virgin is not visible, so it is not clear if it survived the damage. 

Marble and Stone Memorials - Hannigan Family Monument, St. Mary's Parish Church


This is one of the largest and most elaborate memorials in the cemetery. The main inscription reads: ‘Sacred to the memory of John Hannigan who departed this life April 10th, 1864, aged 63’.  Another side has the following inscription: ‘Ellen Hannigan died Dungarvan November 13th, 1883 aged 69.  And her son James Hannigan, Late Town Clerk who died January 19th, 1885, aged 42. Also, Margaret Agnes beloved wife of James Hannigan who died February 1886 aged 31, and their two children…… and Helen who died young’.

In January 1855 John Hannigan was elected as one of the first Dungarvan Town Commissioners.  He was described as a ‘shopkeeper’ aged 50 with a property valuation of £12, the lowest of all the Commissioners.  In February 1858 he became a shareholder in the new Dungarvan Gasworks.

John was a pawnbroker by profession and in 1848 he and another pawnbroker, Edward Kennefick, answered a query from Mr Burke, Poor Law Inspector, about the effect of the Famine on their business.  In 1862 there is a reference in the council minutes referring to Hannigan’s ‘new house’ in Bridge Street.

When he died in 1864 the Waterford News of 15 April published an obituary of him:

On the 10th inst, Mr John Hannigan, Square, Dungarvan, after a long and protracted illness which he bore with Christian fortitude…The deceased was charitably disposed and gave without ostentation to the needy and afflicted.  A large circle of relatives and friends sympathise with his afflicted wife, who has lost a kind and affectionate husband.

His son James was appointed Town Clerk on 4 January 1884 and was paid £50 per annum. On his death a year later, Thomas Fitzgerald was appointed in his place.

The grave monument is impressive, built of limestone with a square base over which there are deeply carved Greek style motifs, on top of which is a Celtic cross. Who was the stonemason? If there is a maker’s name it is not immediately visible. 

Happy New Year!

 Waterford County Museum would like to wish all our members and visitors a Happy New Year.  

Unfortunately we are closed at present again due to government guidelines but we look forward to seeing you all soon. 

You can still contact the museum by email at info@waterfordmuseum.ie.

All museum events, lectures, etc. are cancelled until further notice.


Waterford History Journal - Decies 2020


The current issue of Decies, the journal of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society is now on sale.  It contains lots of fascinating articles including contributions from Waterford County Museum members:

“Viking age influence in Dungarvan” by Chrissy Knight O’Connor

“James Wyatt (architect) at Curraghmore House” by William Fraher

“Dr. Richard Graves” by Eddie Cantwell

This year’s journal was edited by Peigí Devlin.

It is available for sale in the Book Centre, Waterford City or in Waterford County Museum in Dungarvan.

Price €20.

Congratulations to Gallowshill Community Archaeology

Congratulations to Gallowshill Community Archaeology on winning the Waterford PPN award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category for 2020.

Gallowshill Community Archaeology has also been awarded a significant grant under the Rural Development Programme of Waterford Leader Partnership for their exciting Architect/Landscape plan in collaboration with residents and Waterford Council in 2021. 


Marble and Stone Memorials - Eliza Ahearn Monument, St Mary's Parish Church

This limestone memorial is carved in the style of an obelisk but is circular in shape. It is inscribed:

A tribute of love from her children to the memory of their mother Mrs Eliza Ahearn of the Quay, Dungarvan who died April 25th 1864, aged 57 years.

She had distributed.  She hath given to the Poor.  Her justice remaineth for ever and ever.  Peace to her soul at God’s side to endure.  Peace to the friend of his homeless and poor.  Peace to her loving head fervent and pure.

The mason’s name is prominently carved beneath the inscription:  J. Collins, Waterford.  Egan’s Guide to Waterford 1894 has an advert for: ‘W. Collins & Sons, John Street, Waterford. Monumental Stone & Marble Works of Every Description’.

The Cork Examiner of 29 April 1864 carried a report of her death:

At her residence, the Quay, Dungarvan, on Monday 25 Inst., Mrs Eliza Ahearn at the age of 57 years.  Her remains were conveyed to the Parish Church, followed by a large concourse of relatives and friends, who flocked in vast numbers from the remotest country districts.

After the usual ceremonies…the remains were lowered into the family vault.  Mrs Eliza Ahearne was no ordinary loss.  No more shall the widow’s suffering be alleviated by her pure and unostentatious charity; nor the ever-flowing bounty of her hand assuage the biting pangs of poverty.  The lowly and unrequited children of labour will miss in her the steady friend and indulgent employer – for considerable was the outlay of her capital annually on her extensive commercial premises; and the church to which she had given a gifted and zealous minister, has lost by her a liberal patroness.

Eliza is listed in Slater’s Commercial Directory 1846 as a coal dealer and public house owner on the quay.  According to Griffith’s Valuation 1850 she had property on the quay, Dirty Lane and in Abbeyside.  In 1858 she was one of the top shareholders in the new Dungarvan Gasworks.

Other family relatives include the Kiely and Gibbons families who are also commemorated in this grave.

Eliza Ahearn Monument

W. Collins and Sons advertisement

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