Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
Tel: +353 (0)58 45960 Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie
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Online Talks “The Irish Civil War”

Tipperary Museum of Hidden History, Clonmel.

These talks will be available as a monthly podcast from 9th October 2021 to April 2022. Speakers include: Brian Hanley, David McCullagh, Dr. Gemma Clarke, 

Seán Hogan, Brenda Malone, Gabriel Doherty and Pat McCarthy.



 For further details contact Julia at 0761 065254


Email: juliawalsh@tipperarycoco.ie


Dunhill History Lectures Series XV, 2021

There will be three autumn lectures by Julian Walton. The lectures will be given on alternate Thursdays, commencing on 7th October.

 Starting at 8 p.m. The programme is as follows:

7 October: “Me today, you tomorrow:” the monuments of James Rice in Waterford and John McCragh in Lismore.

21 October: “What I did in the summer of 1833:” The journal of Henry, third Marquis of Waterford.

4 November: “I shall be Glad to get out of this Dungeon as soon as possible:” The schooling of Master Clifton 1751-1760.

If you know anyone interested in attending these lectures or live streaming from home, please contact Dunhill to be added to their mailing list.

Admission charge of €5 per lecture (can be paid over the phone or by cash in the centre.

For further details contact Dunhill Multi- Education Centre

Tel: 051-396934

Email: enquires@dunhilleducation.com


Stories from Old Newspapers

Waterford News 16th November 1923

 Serious Illness of Mgr.Count Bickerstaffe-Drew.

 “We deeply regret to learn that the celebrated writer who signs himself      “John Ayscough” is lying seriously ill at a hotel in St. Malo.  “John Ayscough”, is Monsignor Bickerstaffe-Drew, the son of the Rev. Henry Lloyd Bickerstaffe, an Anglican clergyman, [He] was a most distinguished scholar of Oxford University, and joined the Catholic church while he was an undergraduate at the ancient seat of learning.  Monsignor Bickerstaffe-Drew’s illness must have been a sudden seizure, for the Editor of this paper has a letter from him dated St. Malo 5th November, in which he stated he was hard at work writing a story for Green and Gold [a literary magazine printed by Waterford News] - a story which, he said, “I shall be much disappointed if you do not care for it”.  In a letter from Versailles, dated 12th October in sending the Editor of “Green and Gold” a contribution for his magazine- a story which will appear in the Christmas number… mentioned that- in the year 1886 he was for six months on a visit at the island, with some dear friends, Geraldine and Claude de Lacy; and it was there I received my appointment [as army Chaplin], which I held for 33 years.  I have a lot of Power forbears, who are all County Waterford people.  One queer ancestor of mine (through the Powers) was Valentine Greatrakes, “The Stroker”, whose home was at Affane. 


The mother of Mons. Count Bickerstaffe-Drew was before her marriage, Miss Mona Brougham Drew, of Heathfield Towers, Youghal.  Her distinguished son (who is now in his 65th year) was private chamberlain of his late Holiness Pope Leo XIII, and subsequently of Pope Pius X.  He was created domestic prelate of his Holiness in 1904.  He is a Knight of the Sacred Military Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Count.  His other distinctions are numerous and world-wide.”


The Count was born in 1858 and died in 1928.  He converted to Catholicism in 1878.  He was ordained in 1844 and served as a chaplin in the British army for more than 30 years.





New Gallowshill Exhibition

We are delighted that our new Gallowshill exhibition has now been completed, with the arrival of a new display case.  This now houses the archaeological artefacts from Gallowshill e.g. pottery pieces, human anatomy, mineral sample, weapons and ammunition etc. This compliments our new information panels explaining the history of Gallowshill, Dungarvan Caves, Vikings and Medieval Dungarvan.

This project has been supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant 2021.


Rita Clancy- Dungarvan's First Librarian

Margaret (Rita) Clancy (1900-1979) was a member of a very old native Dungarvan family.  She was a primary School teacher at Carriglea National School a few miles outside Dungarvan.  Waterford County Council instituted a Public Library service, with headquarters at Lismore with Mr. Fergus Murphy (Father of Dervla Murphy) the first appointed County Librarian.  The next task was to establish the first branch library in the county, the choice was Dungarvan.  They had the books and the Council would provide a room, but they did not have the funds to pay a librarian.  Rita was approached and asked to accept the post of Honorary Librarian, and open the library in the evenings, which she graciously did.  

She opened the first library branch to be established in the county on February 18th 1931.  It was located in the only available room on the top storey of the Dungarvan Town Hall.  Unstintingly she worked long and arduous hours in the service and interest of her fellow-townspeople.  Increased numbers of borrowers and lack of space necessitated a "temporary" move to a premise at the top of Friary Street.  Unfortunately the economic state of the country at the time meant the new Dungarvan Branch Library building was still a long way off. 

In her lifetime Rita Clancy became a legend for her courtesy and helpfulness, even in the most trying circumstances.  The needs of each borrower meticulously attended to and at all times devoid of favour. 

On Monday, 1st March 1976 after 45 years service Rita retired from the library service and may well have looked back with nostalgia and pride on a most exacting task, more than adequately accomplished.  Rita had many outstanding characteristics especially her gentle and unassuming nature and her great Christian charity by word and deed.  She was always patriotic and had been a member of Cumann na mBan.  In 1969 the now retired N.T. began helping in the establishment of St. John's Special School Dungarvan.  A few years later she was asked to return to St. John's to cover for those who were taking courses.  She is remembered for her ability to keep control of her classes, some of which had challenging pupils. 

While crossing the road Rita was hit by a drunk driver and died from her injuries on 8th October 1979. Her funeral was one of the largest and most representative ever seen in Dungarvan. A testimony to her great popularity and the high esteem in which she was held by the people of Dungarvan.

Many thanks to Hillary Keane, for providing this information about Rita Clancy. 


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 go 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.

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