Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
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Stories from Old Newspapers

 Kilkenny Moderator 6 October 1830

Fete at Curraghmore

On Thursday, the tenantry of the Marquis of Waterford, of the barony of Gaultier, were entertained to dinner by his Lordship at Curraghmore. The tables were laid in the courtyard protected from the weather by an awning, fresh from the neighbouring [Malcomson] factory at Portlaw. At 3 o’clock the worthy yeomen, to the number of about 170, sat down to their substantial roast beef, with its accompaniments, and an abundance of ale and choice port to wash it down. Their young and noble host sat at the head of the table and omitted nothing that could render the party social and hearty.

His Lordship’s health was received with acclamations, and drunk in the full spirit of Irish welcome. His Lordship returned thanks, apparently greatly excited by the warmth and feeling which he experienced in the midst of these honest peasantry…he expressed his intention of residing at Curraghmore at the expiration of two years…repeated cheers that made the welkin ring were the intelligible response… to these very generous sentiments…Though there were many onlookers, the tenantry were the only invited guests. The ladies of the family witnessed the animating and delightful scene at a short distance at the head of the table. His Grace, the Lord Primate was present, and his health being drunk, he returned thanks, and stated that it afforded him great pleasure, as the guardian and uncle of the young marquis to observe the mutual feeling of attachment which reigned between his Lordship and tenants…At five o’clock, dinner being over, the company adjourned to an open space nearer the house – the band of the Waterford Staff struck up some lively airs, and dancing commenced and proceeded with the utmost gaiety – It is true we could not distinguish the light quadrille from the gay gallopade , and many a foot seemed to figure away altogether untutored by the professional skill of our Goodman; but there was mirth and good humour galore…At length…the guests found it time to depart. Their chargers were called for, and the good men mounted as well as they were able, and drawing eight abreast, they gave three cheers for the house of Curraghmore. Erin go Bragh! 


Halloween / Samhain at the Museum

Children visit the Witch’s spooky, shadowy, Bibe’s cave at Waterford County Museum. Do the Halloween quiz, colour scary pictures and take a selfie in the cave. From Thursday 27th October 2022.

Photography Appeal

The museum is asking for the general public’s assistance, we are looking for the owner of the original copy of a hurling photo of the Dean Ryan Cup Team 1944-45, which had a Michael O’Brien in the photo. This was in the Dungarvan Observer dated 31st of July 2013. If the owner of the original photo would come into the Museum and let us scan this and then pass this on to the relative of Michael O’Brien, it would be very much appreciated. 

Please contact the Museum at:
Telephone: 058 45960
Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie

Historic Town Atlas

The Museum has just restocked with 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.  This is an ideal gift for those interested in local history. Copies of the Atlas are available to purchase at the Museum, priced at €35.

Stories from Old Newspapers


Kerry Evening Post 23 February 1901

Death of Old Warrior

We take the following from the Boston Western News…it may be interesting to some of our readers: -

There has just died at Appalachicola, Florida, Mr. Joseph Hansard, who was one of ‘The Six Hundred’ who was born in the town of Tipperary of a good old English family, nearly all his ancestors being military men. His father was the late John Hansard, who kept a wine and spirit establishment in the town of Tipperary some eighty years ago, and was commonly known as ‘Captain Johnny’, and this is how he came to Tipperary -In 1798 a volunteer regiment was raised in Tipperary by the then Earl of Derby…and his lordship brought over about 20 Englishmen to officer this corp. Amongst them was John Hansard, who, when the rebellion subsided and the regiment was disbanded…settled there, having married a Miss Lampier who was in business there, by whom he had several sons  - three of whom got free commissions in the East India Company’s service, through the influence of the Earl of Glengall, who then resided at Cahir Castle. The above-named Joseph Hansard, who died last month in Florida was a lieutenant in the Ceylon Rifle Brigade, volunteered for the Crimea in 1854, and was one of the ‘Gallant Six Hundred’, who rode through the famous charge…he requested [that] his sword [be] given to his nephew Mr. Joseph Hansard of Killarney…and all he regretted was that his bones would lay in a foreign soil, and not with those of his ancestors in Tipperary, or at Snenton, near Nottingham…and his last words were that either on the battle-field or n a foreign land, he always upheld the dignity of the Crown and the honor of his country...he desired to be remembered to General ‘Redan’ Massy, COB, the present High Sheriff of Tipperary’.

Joseph Hansard (1835-1909) of Killarney lived in Dungarvan for many years and had a printing office in Lower Main Street, where he published his History of Waterford City & County in 1870.



 Weapons of War Exhibition

A large attendance enjoyed an exhibition of weapons from the War of Independence & Civil War period which was on display in Grattan Square on Sunday 9th October.

Thanks to Tola Collier professional military historian, all the re-enactors, the Decade of Centenaries Committee of Waterford Council, James Doherty, Christine and Tony King, and Thomas Phelan for their help in mounting this exhibition.

 October Museum Talk

‘A Most Magnificent Place’

The Garden & Demesne at Curraghmore, Portlaw, Co Waterford.

By William Fraher

This illustrated talk will tell the story of the evolution of the magnificent garden and estate at Curraghmore, the home of the Marquis of Waterford. The talk is based on extensive research in the archives over a number of years. It will include the architecturally important shell house created by Catherine Power in the 18th century, the Italianate Garden of the 1840s, walled garden, garden sculptures, and other features in the demesne.

When: Wednesday 26th October

Where: Waterford Co Museum, Friary Street, at 7.30.

Subscription: 5

Please note the talks will now be held on the last Wednesday of each month.

Stories from Old Newspapers

 Clonmel Herald, 7 August 1839

Loss of the Sloop Lady Curraghmore, and Six Lives

On Saturday last the sloop Curraghmore, of 47 tons, sailed from Dungarvan, with cattle and passengers for Swansea, and a t 10 o’clock the same evening, while off the Smalls, she shipped a sea and was thrown on her beam ends. The crew, consisting of three men and the master, used every effort to right her by shifting her ballast, but to no avail; in a very short time she filled and went down.

Fortunately for the crew and passengers, (14 in number) they had left her prior to her foundering, in the vessel’s boat, and after contending some time with the fury of the sea and wind, they were discovered by the steamship, City of Limerick, bound for Plymouth, when she hove-to to take them on board. But a more melancholy tale remains to be told.

Immediately on the boat getting alongside the steamer, two seamen, four passengers, and a child 18 months old, were taken on board her; but we are pained to add that whilst a seaman was attempting to help the mother on board, the steamer lurched over, struck the boat with her gangway ladder, and precipitated the whole into the water. Great and praiseworthy exertions were made by those on board the steamer to save their lives, but in a few moments the father, mother, and brother (5 years old) of the little child saved, with two others sank to rise no more. The master of the foundered vessel, who was in the boat when she upset, having been in the water 20 minutes, was saved with great difficulty. The surviving child, the master, and others, on arriving here [Plymouth], were conveyed to the workhouse, where every possible attention is paid to them. Neither the vessel nor cargo was insured.


Positive Ageing Week & National Walking Week

 The museum had a supervised history trail walk around Dungarvan, as part of the Positive Ageing week and the National walking week 2022. This took place on Monday 26th September 2022, on a beautiful autumnal day.

Group on Positive ageing / national walking week walk 

Group ready for their walk outside the Museum

Seán Murphy RIP

Waterford County Museum is saddened to hear of the passing of Seán Murphy. Seán had many talents, he was a gifted raconteur, and a cast member of 'Bachelors in Trouble'. Filmed over three decades the 'Bachelors in Trouble' comedic films became a Waterford institution. Seán was also a gifted historian operating in partnership with his wife Síle. 

This husband-and-wife team of local historians researched the local stories of the Comeraghs, Kilmacthomas, and Co. Waterford for well over forty years and accumulated a vast store of written material on diverse topics of social interest. They were actively involved in the cultural life of mid-Waterford during all of this time. Seán was a Kilmacthomas native but as he said himself, he had lived in the mountains for over forty years. As a social welfare officer serving West Waterford, he absorbed a vast store of the lore of Co. Waterford and the Comeraghs. As the pension officer he had to interview many veterans of the War of Independence, collecting valuable historical information in the process. At a time when it was neither fashionable nor encouraged, he documented the contribution made by these veterans to Irish independence. 

Publications by the Murphys include: The Comeraghs: Holy Year Cross (1973), The Comeraghs: fact and fancy (1974), The Comeraghs: fact and famine (1975), The Comeraghs: refuge of rebels (1980), The Comeraghs: famine, eviction and revolution (1996), Waterford: heroes, poets and villains (1999) and The Comeraghs: gunfire and civil war (2003 & 2020). Seán also part authored the Kilmacthomas section of The towns and villages of the Waterford Greenway (2018). 

It should come as no surprise that Seán and Síle donated all of the considerable profits of their most recent publication to Waterford County Museum. Working with Seán to publish the book was a privilege and it was joy to see a new generation discover this accessible and important local history book.  

Seán's historical legacy will be much more than the publications he has left behind. The many younger historians who came into contact with him benefitted from Seán’s knowledge and generosity with his time. He provided an object lesson as to how local history could be done in a supportive, collegial manner. These historians will write their own books and I’ve no doubt they will draw on Seán’s example as an inspiration. 

Seán was more interested in preserving the memory of those who worked for Irish freedom than any fame that might accrue to himself. As can be seen in the foreword that he authored for the most recent edition of The Comeraghs: gunfire and civil war he was conscious of the debt that he felt was due to that generation. I can think of no more fitting epitaph for Seán than to use the words he used in that heartfelt foreword. He was a man of great integrity and honour, and it was our privilege to have known him. 

"In our research for the book we found the veterans to be men and women of great integrity and honour, who had suffered great hardship in their youth for the cause of Irish freedom. We the generation who came after them owe them a great debt, which we have not really paid. All these heroes have gone to their eternal reward and are now the stuff of history. I hope that this book will show that the men and women of Waterford were as active as any others and it was they who held out to the bitter end, till eventually the Civil War concluded in the Comeragh Mountains." Seán Murphy 

To Seán’s wife Síle, his children: Jack, Bob, Lia, and Mahon, his extended family, and many friends our most sincere condolences. 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam 



Emily Ussher Donation:

In the photo Emily Mc Donald (nee Ussher) and her sister Jackie Pullen presenting a copy of Emily Ussher’s memoir to Museum Curator Willie Fraher.

Stories from old Newspapers

 Waterford Standard 22 June 1929

Dungarvan Electric Light Company acquired by the Electricity Supply Board

A specially summoned meeting of the shareholders of the Dungarvan Electric Light Company was held at the boardroom of the company for the purpose of considering a further offer for the purchase of the company by the Electricity Supply Board.

‘A fortnight ago a meeting had been held, when an offer of £5,000 for the works was considered, and it was decided to send a deputation to Dublin to ask the ESB to increase their offer. The deputation reported that the offer had been increased to £5800. Mr Thomas Power, chairman, and other directors present included Messrs J.Dunne, P.J.Moloney, and T.Foley.  There were a good number of shareholders present. Mr Keohan said it was a good thing the deputation had gone to Dublin as they made £800. Mr. Merry agreed…Keohan proposed they accept the offer which was seconded by Mr Merry. Mr J.A. Lynch proposed a vote of thanks to the directors. They gave the people good light…The chairman hoped they [ESB] would meet the needs of the people and give light cheap and satisfactory. They as a local company could not to anything else but accept the offer. The Shannon scheme had power to come into the town and override their works and they could not hope to compete with it’.

Edmond Keohan wrote the following on the company in his Illustrated History of Dungarvan 1924:

‘The Electric Light Company was established in 1920 with a capital of £8,000. The original intention was to obtain the power from the river Colligan, but this idea was abandoned, and now the power is derived from engines installed at the works. The Company have secured the contract for the public lighting, and almost all the shops in town have got an electric installation. It has been very satisfactory as regards its lighting powers, and so far, that is for the three years of its existence, the enterprise has got on well. As a local industry it is a success. The charge is 1/- per unit. The light was first lighted on the 15th of August, 1921. Mr. John Dunphy is electrical manager.’

The Shannon Scheme first began to generate electricity for the national grid in October 1929. From 1929, nine towns and villages across Waterford were directly supplied by the Shannon Scheme:

Cappoquin, 1929, Dungarvan, 1930, Dunmore East, 1929, Lismore, 1929, Passage East, 1929, Portlaw, 1938—1939, Tallow, 1929, Tramore, 1929, Waterford, 1929.


Dungarvan Electric Image - Circa 1920

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