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

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.

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