Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
Tel: +353 (0)58 45960 Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie
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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.

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