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



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