Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Left to right:- Jim Murphy*, Nicolas Graves, Colleen Murphy*, Nóirin Ní Ghriobhtháin, John Foley.      * Boston, MA Cousins of Nicolas and Noirin. 


Culture Night at Waterford County Museum Part 2


Group photo Left to right: Paula uÍ Uallacháin ( Museum Treasurer), Tom Broderick, Christina Flynn ( Museum President), Paulus van Heesewiijk, Christine King (Museum Secretary) and Mary Giblin.
Selection of people at culture night  at the Museum.

Mr Tony Hayes, explaining about the  techniques and materials used in  the art works in the Museum.

Selection of people at culture night  at the Museum.

Paula uÍ Uallacháin ( Museum Treasurer) presenting a speech by Julian Walton all about local and Global events in 1982- the year the Museum was formed.

Refreshments and nibbles on culture night.

Culture Night at Waterford County Museum

 As part of Culture Night we were open from 7.30 to 10.30. It was also a special night as we celebrated our 40th birthday of the founding of the museum in 1982.  Museum President, Christina Flynn introduced proceedings and welcomed members and guests. Curator Willie Fraher and guest speaker Julian Walton were unfortunately unable to make it on the night, but a short address was read on Willie’s behalf. Christina recalled details of the first meeting and committee, the eventual move to the old Town Hall in Friary Street and the recent upgrading of the lighting and exhibitions.

One of the original committee was in attendance, former County Librarian, Donald Brady. Christina noted that another of the first committee, Gai Morrissey, had just passed away and she extended her sympathy to the Morrissey family on behalf of the museum.

On behalf of the Curator, Christine King read a piece about the Phil O’Donnell exhibit which was launched on the night. Museum staff member Tony Hayes led a fascinating tour of the paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints on show.  Paula Uí Uallacháin read Julian Walton’s piece on Irish and world events that occurred in the year the museum was founded, in 1982.

Participants were treated to some lovely nibbles and finger food and a magnificent birthday cake presented by one of the museum Trustees. A big thank you to all staff members, Marie, Mike, Stephanie, Tony and Barry, and Trustees Paula, Christine and Mary for organising such a successful evening.

 40th Birthday Celebration Cake for Museum

Left to right in photo: Dennis Barron, Thomas Walsh, Nicolas Graves, Mary Giblin, Tom Broderick, Christine King ( Museum Secretary) and Christina Flynn ( Museum President)

Cutting the Celebration Cake , left to right: Mary Looby (Clonea) and Eileen Moloney (Helvick)

Donald Brady one of the original members of the first Museum Committee of 1982.

Phil O' Donnell Exhibition, in this photo we have Phil O' Donnell's Grandchildren  Left to Right: Fergal O'Donnell ( Kilrush), Christina Flynn ( Museum President), Niamh O'Donnell (Naas), Christine King ( Museum Secretary) and Vanessa O'Donnell (Kilrush).

Section of attendees at Culture night at the Museum.

Tom Crean Talk

 Tom Crean Talk by Michael Smith.

We would like to thank most sincerely, the Management and staff at Merry’s award winning Gastro Pub for facilitating us for Michael Smith’s talk on Tom Crean, and indeed for being most helpful. The ‘serial biographer ‘updated the large attendance on how- since his first visit to Dungarvan in 2001-  His ‘Unsung hero’ has exploded in the world. Printed in several languages his No1 best seller continues to gather momentum over twenty years later. He was particularly excited that his book was now part of the school curriculum in Ireland and was quite chuffed that Tom Crean was printed in Irish. There was a healthy exchange during questions and answers after his talk which certainly extended the duration of the event. This was carried on in the bar after Michael’s talk and he was happily kept engaged up until closing time.


Stores from Old Newspapers

 Dungarvan’s Crumbling Quays

Before the present stone-fronted quay was created in the 19th century there were just two small quays, ‘Rodericks Quay’ by the castle, and ‘George’s Quay’ around the area of the present Anchor Bar. When Dungarvan was rebuilt by the Dukes of Devonshire from the 1820s onwards, a new quay was built and supervised by the noted engineer/architect Jesse Hartley (1780-1860). However, since its completion it has suffered from partial collapse every couple of decades. The minutes of Dungarvan Town Commissioners record having to rebuild it in 1855,1864, 1886, and 1901. The following letter written in 1853 shows how far it had deteriorated. This is all the more surprising as Hartley is now famous for his Liverpool dock complex, which is a listed example of the finest engineering technology of its day.

Cork Examiner 1 April 1853

Dungarvan Harbour – To the Editor of the Shipping & Mercantile Gazette


Perhaps this would not be an inappropriate time to call the attention of the government to one of the most valuable bills introduced by nearly the same government about twelve months since…the bill for the management of the small harbours and creeks of the United Kingdom…

This port is, indeed, an exemplification of its necessity. What was once a very comfortable harbour, with a nice commodious landing quay, a desolate heap of ruins now meets the eye, alike dangers to the traffic along the quay – from the countless fissures opened up to the extent of 20 feet and more by the action of the tide, as well as destructive to the shipping resorting here – by reason of heaps of stones drawn by the tide till it has now become a serious difficulty for our shipmasters to select a single berth to lay a vessel where she would not strain. If the necessary repairs had been last year effected, some hundreds of pounds would be saved, and so the injury will be increasing faster than compound interest. Surely this state of things will not be allowed to continue…

I am, Sir, Your obedient servant,

Christopher O’Brien, Merchant & Shipowner, Dungarvan, March 20, 1853.

(Note: Christopher O’Brien was the older brother of the noted Fenian, James F X O’Brien)

Public works at Davitt's  Quay, Dungarvan- Circa 1901



Waterford County Museum - We are 40 this year!

It is hard to believe that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the museum. The initiative came from Dungarvan I.C.A. and its then President Mrs Joan Bailey.

A public meeting was organised and took place in Lawlor’s Hotel in 1982. The large attendance included the new County Manger, Dan Hurley and the new County Librarian, Donald Brady.

A committee was set up and the intention was to have a local historical society or friends of the museum. The name decided on was Dungarvan Museum Society. The hunt was then on for a premises and fortunately R A Merry’s old store (The Old Market House) in Lower Main Street became available. Before the building was modernized and restored the Museum Society held an exhibition (in 1983) upstairs, titled ‘Gallowshill and The Lady Belle’. Enthusiastic volunteers made temporary cases and visual displays. The first committee was photographed by Rory Wyley on the night along with Mayor of Dungarvan, Jimmy Byrne, and consisted of the following:

Mrs Joan Bailey; Kitty Hayes, former Co Librarian; Donald Brady then Co Librarian, Willie Fraher, Jim Shine, Donal Walsh, Richie Walsh, Billy Kyne, Gai Morrissey, Mrs Kathleen Dowling, and Tom Nolan.

The building was restored and repurposed to house a library on the ground floor and a museum on the first floor. The official opening in 1984  was performed by author Molly Keane. 

In April 1999 the UDC vacated their offices in the old Town Hall in Friary Street and the museum moved into the ground floor. In 2009 the museum moved back into the newly renovated Town Hall space.

Since 1982 the museum has held numerous exhibitions, public talks, and published a number of local history books. Our extensive image archive now contains over 7,400 images for Dungarvan and Co Waterford. We have been the recipient of numerous awards, including for one of the most ambitious projects, the investigation and archaeological dig at Gallowshill which has resulted in rewriting the early history of the town.

The majority of our collection has been donated over the years and we would like to sincerely thank all the donors who have decided to entrust us with their cherished items and ensure that they remain within the county. This year the museum has funded a completely new lighting system, new text panels, and introduced colour into our exhibition area, all of which contributes to a better visitor experience.

The remit of the museum is: ‘to record, display and preserve artefacts, documents and images relating to the history of Co Waterford and make them available as a resource for the enjoyment and education of the local community and visitors, irrespective of age, gender, disability or ethnicity’. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 to 5, including lunchtime. Admission is Free and all are welcome.



Waterford County Museum is delighted to present an event to mark Culture Night 2022.

Join us to mark our 40th birthday and see our newly renovated exhibition space.

8p.m.   Decade of Centenaries - The Phil O’Donnell Collection - Official Opening

Recording Cork Republicans for the Bureau of Military History

8.30 and 9.15   Twenty Objects

Guided tour of twenty objects currently on display, by Museum Curator, William Fraher

8.30 and 9.15   Twenty Artworks

Guided tour of Paintings, Prints & Drawings currently on display by staff member and artist Tony Hayes

Refreshments will be served.

Admission Free.

Time: 7.30pm to 10.30pm


For further information Please contact us at info@waterfordmuseum.ie

or phone 058-45960



Culture Night 2022- Friday 23rd September

Waterford County Museum is delighted to present an event to mark Culture Night 2022.

Join us to mark our 40th birthday and see our newly renovated exhibition space.

8.30 and 9.15   Twenty Objects

Guided tour of twenty objects currently on display, by Museum Curator, William Fraher

8.30 and 9.15   Twenty Artworks

Guided tour of Paintings, Prints & Drawings currently on display by staff member and artist Tony Hayes

8p.m.   Decade of Centenaries - The Phil O’Donnell Collection - Official Opening

Recording Cork Republicans for the Bureau of Military History

Refreshments will be served.

Admission Free.

Time: 7.30pm to 10.30pm


For further information contact us at info@waterfordmuseum.ie 

or phone 058-45960



Stories from Old Newspapers

 Dublin Evening Telegraph 24th July 1920

Raids in Dungarvan and Ballina

Hotel Visitors Searched

The Commercial Hotel and the Devonshire Arms Hotel, Dungarvan, were raided by military on Wednesday night.  They first went to the Commercial and searched all the rooms.  They then proceeded to the Devonshire Arms, and a priest who was staying there was obliged to get out of bed.  A close search was made of all the rooms and all persons in the hotel.  The soldiers then went down the Main Street to the Town Hall, where they searched some young men engaged in erecting scenery for an Irish play.  They searched all the young men, entered the greenroom, making a close search, went under the stage, got into the old office, and ransacked all the papers, putting their bayonets through the pictures of the Republican leaders.  They then went into the clerk’s office and tumbled up all the papers.  The military were engaged from about 1 o’ clock till 2.30 a.m. Some challenges were made in the streets but all passed of quietly and there were no arrests.

Devonshire Arms Hotel Circa 1910

Commercial Hotel 1919


New Book - The Irish Civil War in Colour

 This new hardback book created by Michael B. Barry and John O’ Byrne, is an amazing book that is richly illustrated and is an engrossing read that brings a fresh perspective to a defining moment in Irish history. This book is available at all leading book shops and online.

Western Terrace Houses

 Western terrace was originally called ‘OLD CHAPEL LANE’:  This led to the 18th  Century Catholic Chapel on the site of the C.B.S. school. The terrace of seven houses have open balconies on the first floor. They were built around 1910.

Historic Town Atlas

The launch of the  Historic Town Atlas took place on Wednesday 17th of August  in Dungarvan Library for Heritage week.

The Historic Towns Atlas for Dungarvan prepared by John Martin for the Royal Irish Academy. This fantastic resource traces the evolution of settlement, society and economy in Dungarvan. Discover the origins of this coastal town, its archaeology, its architecture, industries and trade over the centuries as mapped and narrated in this comprehensive piece of work under the dedication of John Martin.             

Copies of the Atlas will be available to purchase at the Museum priced at €35

Illuminated Address Donation


We were delighted to receive a recent donation of an impressive hand illuminated address in Irish which was drawn by Liam Ua Míodhachain (1874-1960) in a Celtic Revival style.  It was presented to Liam Ó h’ Iceadha on the occasion of his marriage in 1914. There is intricate Celtic interlacing and scenes of Abbeyside Castle and the old gable wall at St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. The address was presented to him by the Dungarvan branch of Conradh na Gaeilge and is signed by Dan Fraher, Séan Ó Loinsigh, and Miceál Ó Floinn. The address which is now on display in the museum was presented by to Liam Ó h’ Iceadha granddaughters, Nóirin Westman, Muireann McGrath and Iosoilde Dromey.

from left to right are Muireann McGrath, Nóirin Westman, William Fraher ( Curator Waterford County Museum) and Iosoilde Dromey.

Stories from Old Newspapers

 Co. Tipperary Independent & Tipperary Free Press,

 28 August 1886

St Augustine’s Seminary Dungarvan

‘This establishment was opened 12 years ago [1874], in compliance with the earnest desire of numerous parents and guardians, to satisfy a long-felt want in this locality – that is to say: to form a link between the Primary Schools and the University; hence the Intermediate programme was adopted from the beginning. That it has been most successful in imparting a sound knowledge, the fathers have but to refer the many students who passed for the ecclesiastical and other professions. The fathers have procured the services of competent and trained masters, and trust, by constant attention, that the Seminary will retain the high reputation which it has had for so long deserved. The school re-opens on Monday 16 August’.

The subject taught at the school included: Latin, Greek, Maths, History, Geography, Modern Languages, Italian, German, Natural Philosophy, Drawing, Book-Keeping, Mercantile Studies, English Language, etc. The charges for the year were: English and Maths £4, and the entire course (music excepted) £5.

‘All the students who presented themselves passed the Science and Art examinations last May’.

‘Signed by Very Rev. J.A. Williams O.S.A., President, Dungarvan 9 August 1886’.

Before opening the school in Main Street, the first classes were held in the Theatre in the Old Town Hall, St Augustine Street. The school closed in 1972 and moved to a new premises which opened at Duckspool in September 1972. The former school premises in Main Street is now Dungarvan Enterprise Centre, Main Street.

Students and Teacher Saint Augustine’s Seminary, Dungarvan Circa 1930.

Michael Collins, Cathal Brugha and Dan Fraher -- Dáil Loan Fund Cheque

This is a cheque for £99 written by Dan Fraher, Dungarvan to Cathal Brugha and dated 4 January 1920. It is singed on the reverse by Cathal Brugha and Michael Collins (in Irish) and also has the bank manager’s signature. ‘Portlaw ‘is also inscribed on the cheque.

Dan Fraher had been a noted sportsman in his younger days and his son Maurice was the first pupil at Pádraig Pearse’s school. Dan developed a playing field in Dungarvan known as The Gaelic Field and it is still in use, renamed Fraher Field in his honour. As an elderly man Dan was imprisoned at Ballykinlar Camp in Co Down, an experience from which he never fully recovered. His daughter Cáit married well-known republican Pax Whelan.

The Dáil Loans were bonds issued between 1919 and 1921 by The Dáil of the self- proclaimed Irish Republic to raise funds to run the new state in opposition to the British administration based in Dublin Castle. Michael Collins was appointed Minister for Finance in April 1919. The money raised was retained in bank accounts in Ireland and in the US. The Dáil approved the First Dáil Loan on 19 June 1919. £171,177 was raised in Munster.

Signatures on Cheque


Out Door Gallery Murals

 If you are taking a stroll along the sea wall walk (in front of Boreenatra towards the Lookout Park, in either direction) you may have noticed the outdoor gallery of hand painted pictures featuring  Irish nature scenes, a number are captioned in English and Irish. These are done by a local artist, Sinead Violet and which add to the beautiful panorama of the Seascape. These are sponsored by Dungarvan Tidy Towns & GSK. So next time why not stop and take a look at these amazing murals.

Stories from Old Newspapers

Waterford Standard, 5 September & 3 October 1936

Gossip of the Week by ‘Entre Nous’, Strand Hotel Clonea

5 September

At Clonea…I ran into Mr. Jack Bulfin, who is a cousin to Dan O’Mahony (1912-1950, born in Co. Cork), the world’s wrestling champion. Mr. Bulfin…is manager of the Dungarvan branch of the London and Newcastle Tea Company, and was very interesting on the subject of Dan’s Career. Mr. Bulfin introduced me to his wife, a charming person, whose amazing efficiency with the piano accordion has endeared her to all staying at the popular Strand Hotel (later called Ocean View Hotel). The hotel has now been fitted with the new Calor Gas System, produced by Messrs McMullen Bros, Dublin…The dance hall has also been fitted with the new system gas lighting, and looks very attractive.

3 October

Inhaling the sweet ozone of Clonea recently was Mr. Sean McKeown, who for many years was in the pharmaceutical chemistry business in Waterford. Mr. McKeown was looking his usual healthy self, but rather missed his old Waterford friends and the social life of the city. I hear he is at present in Youghal. While at Clonea, I must write something about the Dungarvan Golfers’ Dance, which was held in the Strand Hotel this week. A rather hectic night, and one which the gay couples contrived to make an event worthwhile remembering. They succeeded! A spirit of gaiety and bonhomie prevailed throughout the dance, accentuated by the lively strains of Chris Sylvester and his band…I must say the dance committee certainly organised a memorable dance and the arrangements were all that they should be.   


Historic Town Atlas

The launch of the  Historic Town Atlas took place on Wednesday 17th of August  in Dungarvan Library for Heritage week.

The Historic Towns Atlas for Dungarvan prepared by John Martin for the Royal Irish Academy. This fantastic resource traces the evolution of settlement, society and economy in Dungarvan. Discover the origins of this coastal town, its archaeology, its architecture, industries and trade over the centuries as mapped and narrated in this comprehensive piece of work under the dedication of John Martin.             

Copies of the Atlas will be available to purchase at the Museum priced at €35.

New Lighting System and New Panels

The museum has a new lighting system which illuminates the complete internal area of the museum and its many interesting exhibits and antiquities. This lighting system is specifically designed for museums and the requirements they need to ensure proper illumination, while being sensitive to the nature of the artifacts on display.

The new lighting system, which was funded by the museum through book sales and fund raising. 

Additionally we have some new panels on such topics as: Emigration and The Famine, The Railway, Lace making, The Moresby, and Waterford Industries to name but a few.

So if you have any free moments during the week, why not drop in to the museum and see our updated displays.


Stories from Old Newspapers

Waterford News 30 March 1900

The New Waterworks at Lismore

The construction of the new reservoir for these works is now rapidly approaching completion, and in the near future the inhabitants of Lismore can enjoy the immense benefit of a copious and high-pressure water supply. It appears the engineering operations involved in this undertaking have proved of a most difficult character, but we are glad to learn that the almost insurmountable obstacles that beset the engineer in the execution of the work have at length been overcome by the work and perseverance with which the operations were pushed.

In fact, our representative informs us that all through the recent severe winter everything was urged ahead with ceaseless energy. Huge excavations were necessary to cope with the great subterranean springs discovered in the rocks…which at one time threatened to be fatal to the entire scheme, while throughout the long winter nights the valley was lit up with the glare of furnaces, and the stillness of the mountainside was broken by the unending rattle of powerful steam pumps and other machinery. The site of the works is at a valley on the lower slopes of the Knockmealdown Mountains, some two and a half miles from Lismore and the utilization of an ancient road embankment crossing the valley, for a reservoir dam, was pronounced by high authorities to be a daring and difficult experiment entailing as it did works of a peculiarly novel description in order that it might be made watertight and safe. The daring experiment, however, has fortunately been justified by its success. Even a brief description of the various works at the reservoir and throughout the catchment basin would require an intimate knowledge of the engineering aspect of the case. His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, with great munificence, has spent thousands of pounds on this work, thereby giving much needed employment in the locality, and we congratulate the engineer (Mr. Scully, Waterford), who, so ably designed and successfully carried out this important and difficult undertaking.   

If anybody has any additional knowledge or information about the location of the reservoir, please contact the museum.




National Heritage Week – A Heritage Council Programme

 The National Heritage week is running from 13th -21st August 2022.                                        Waterford County Museum’s photographic exhibition of the Irish Revolutionary Period 1921-1923 depicting the role of women, the destruction of railways and property, the Farm labourers’ Strike 1923, The Black and Tans & R.I.C., the Irish Republican Army and the National Army, will be shown in the Dungarvan Library.

Venue: Dungarvan Library, Davitts Quay, Dungarvan, X35 AV29.

Tel:  058 21141

Dates: August 13th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th                            Time 10am-5pm

            August 18th                                                              Time 1pm-8pm

The Waterford Events Programme is available at the Museum as well as online at www.heritageweek.ie.

Irish Prisoner of War Art

This box was made by an Irishman who was captured fighting on the side of the Boers during the Second South African War which took place between 1899 and 1902. There were thousands of Irishmen fighting on the British side and other Irish who fought for the Boers. The British won the war, led by Field Marshal Lord Roberts (from the Roberts Family of Waterford). However, thousands of Boer women and children were held in many concentration camps established by Lord Kitchener and over 26,000 died, marking this as a shameful episode in British colonial history. It is important to say that many thousands of Irish were enthusiastic participants within the colonial empire.

A number of Irish who fought for the Boers were captured at the end of the war and imprisoned in various camps. One of these was a Mr O’Haughie who carved this box at Bellary Camp in India which housed over 800 men and operated between May 1901 and August 1902.

He made the collection box as a gift for a Father MacNamara of Madras in September 1901. The box is carved on five sides:

1.   (Top)September 1901-Bellary Camp India

2.   From O’Haughie Boer POW

3.   To Rev MacNamara Madras

4.   Transbhaal Abu – The coat of arms of the South African republic or Transvaal and a portrait of the President Paul Kruger.

5.   Eire Go Brath -Harp, shamrocks with red hand of Ulster above

Prof Donal McCracken has indicated that the O’Haughie referred to is one James O’Haughey of Derrynoose, south Armagh. He suggests that having fought for a brief period with Colonel Blake and Major John MacBride he was captured during the retreat eastwards along the railway line from Pretoria towards Komatipoort. The recipient of the box was Rev T. F. MacNamara who was a Mill Hill missionary priest in St Mary’s College Madras and was probably sent as chaplain to the pow camp. His father Michael was believed to have worked as a butler at Dromana House, the home of the Villiers-Stuart family.


Boer War Box

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