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

 Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer 3 December 1953

Lismore Hotel – ‘An Outstanding Opportunity’

To acquire an hotel known throughout Ireland, adjacent to Lismore Castle – Irish seat of the Duke of Devonshire, the famous River Blackwater, noted for its salmon and where hunting and shooting abound. Comprising impressive entrance hall, reception, cloaks, private offices, attractive dining room, public lounge with bar, residents lounge, Paddy’s Bar, ballroom, writing room, 24 bedrooms all with fitted wash basins, h & c.’ plugs and bells, 3 baths, 8 toilets, kitchen with ‘Green’s Heat Flow’ range, stillroom, wine cellar, food larders, laundry, staff bedrooms, owner’s flat, garage for 8, stabling for 12, kitchen garden, etc.

The property is tastefully furnished throughout, was modernized, redecorated, and furnished in 1948, is fully equipped even to linen and cutlery. Freehold and free from ground rent, rateable valuation only £58, and offered for disposal solely due to serious illness of the proprietor. To affect an immediate sale, £7,500 to include everything will be accepted.

Apply to owner’s agents: Cork Estates, 70 South Mall, Cork.




Article on Dungarvan by William Fraher

The 19th Century Reconstruction of Dungarvan

Jesse Hartley (1780-1860) - Engineer to the Duke of Devonshire.

Hartley was born on 21 December 1780 near Pontefract, Yorkshire into a family of bridge builders/stone masons.  He was described as a: ‘man of ruddy complexion, a powerful bodily frame and robust constitution’. He was the first full-time professional dock engineer in the world. When the Duke of Devonshire planned to rebuild the centre of Dungarvan in the early 1800s he also decided to build a new quay to help the development of trade and to construct a bridge to link Abbeyside with the town centre. Before this people had to either cross by ferryboat (for which they had to pay a fee) from Abbeyside or travel up the Colligan and cross the river at Ballyneety Bridge.

Hartley was employed as the chief engineer for the works in Dungarvan and he arrived in the town around 1809 and stayed until 1818. Over time he became friendly with the daughter of a local Inn Keeper, her name was Ellen Penny. Her father,  William Penny, was the Seneschal (equivalent to a Town Clerk) and had an inn near the quayside. William died young in 1811 aged 42 as did his wife Fanny who died in 1806 aged 35. He and his wife are buried beside the old gable wall in St Mary’s Church of Ireland, and on the monument, there is a reference to their daughter Ellen and Hartley. Ellen died at Bootle Marsh in Liverpool on 9 December 1836 aged only 28, we don’t know the cause of death, but it may have been during or after the birth of a child.

After leaving Dungarvan Hartley was appointed as engineer to the Liverpool Docks. He designed the Albert Dock with special fire- proof construction. He expanded the docklands from 46 to 212 acres. The buildings have been converted and are now a visitor and leisure attraction of architectural significance.

Jesse died on 24 August 1869 at Bootle Marsh, Liverpool aged 80. He had one child, a son named John Bernard who was also an engineer.

Dew Laas, moored at Davitt's Quay, Dungarvan

Date for your Diary -Museum Members Day Trip

 The day trip will be on Saturday 29th April 2023, at 9.15am outside the Museum premises.

Please book before  Monday 24th April and payment (€27 per person ) is required beforehand.

(Minimum 25 people needed)


 We will be visiting   Doneraile Court Co. Cork

17th/18th/19th century house, the seat of the St. Legers. Interiors recently restored and refurnished by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Ground and first floor open. On site café


 Visting Annes Grove, Co. Cork

Important garden created by the Annesley family and recently restored by the OPW.

Booking & Payment needed in Advance

€27 per person (Does not include lunch)

Please wear suitable shoes for outdoor walking at Annes Grove garden.



Stories from Old Newspapers

 Cork Examiner 2 May 1849

The Pilot 21 October 1846

State of the Country

Dungarvan – More Arrests - Intimidation – State of the People

Dungarvan – Monday night, October 19 - On this night 16 persons have added to the very great number already in custody, for intimidating the farmers and to pay back the con acre rent received by them this year. They were arrested last night in and about the neighbourhood of Dromana and Villierstown by the police of three stations. An investigation was held previous to their being committed for trial to the Villierstown Petty Sessions.

Condition of the People

The condition of the people is truly heart-rending. They are starving! One of the dragoons, a very intelligent man, gave me a most deplorable account of the sights witnessed by them as they came along today by the houses of their prisoners. They were followed by frantic looking women and children, half naked, whose cries were unlike anything human – being husky, broken, and quite feeble from starvation. Is there to be any remedy – any panacea for this awful evil, now staring the country in the face? The landlords of this country have done their duty in this matter, by taxing their properties enormously to afford general employment. The Irish part of the government have done what they could. But it would seem that all is destined to prove abortive, in consequence of no measures being taken to reduce the famine price of food. Indian meal is two shillings a stone; wages per day, only ten pence. This sum would purchase about 6 pounds in weight of meal. What will they do for fire to boil it on, condiments to use with it, and the various other indispensable necessaries of life?

Small group of children standing in the street at Villierstown Village, Co. Waterford ,Cira 1890



Stories from Old Newspapers

 Waterford Star 26 June 1897

Alleged Proselytism in County Waterford

Mr Moloney (instructed by Mr J.F. Williams) applied on the part of Frederick Spanner, a coastguard, living at Bonmahon…for a conditional order for a writ of habeas corpus directed to the Rev. Francis H. Burkett, Rector of Stradbally, and William Claxton, farmer, of the same place, to compel them to produce Alice Cunningham, aged 15 years. Consul relied on an affidavit made by Spanner, in which he stated that Alice Cunningham was his stepdaughter, that she was about 3 years old at the time he married her mother in Dundee in 1885. Her mother was a Roman Catholic, and the child had been brought up in the same religion. He had himself been a Protestant but became a Roman Catholic. In 1892 the child’s mother died, and deponent married again. About three months ago the Rev Mr Burkett asked him to allow Alice…to go to the Rectory for a short time to help in the household work, as his cook was away. He allowed the girl to go, and he heard no more about her until he heard from his mother, a Protestant, who resides in the Isle of Wight, that she was glad to learn that Alice was not then a Catholic. This was the first time he had got any inclination that the religion of the child was being tampered with…he asked that she be sent home…as she did not return…he went to the house [Rectory]. He was told by the servant that the child would be down in a few minutes, but she did not make her appearance…Rev. Burkett said Alice should give a month’s notice before she could leave. Deponent replied that no contract had been entered into, and that there was no necessity to give notice…the girl had been sent out by a back way to the house to William Claxton, about two miles away. He followed her there, but as it was late at night and raining heavily, and she said she was not fit to travel, he consented to let her remain that night, but said she must be sent for next day. He did so, but she was not forthcoming, and he had not seen her since. The court granted the conditional order’.  

We don’t know what happened to Alice. The Spanner family are included in the 1901 census as living in the coastguard station in Bonmahon. Frederick’s second wife that he refers to above was a widow, Elizabeth O’Flaherty who had three children from her first marriage – James aged 14, Silvester aged 9 and Ann Eliza aged 11. Frederick had two sons listed in the census, John aged 3 and Frederick aged 2.  Frederick Spanner Senior was later transferred to Kilmore Quay in Wexford. Alice Cunningham is not listed on the census.


An illuminating Artwork

Liam Ó Míodhacháin and Conradh na Gaelige in Dungarvan

By Kyle Beresford

In 2022 an illuminated address was donated to Waterford County Museum. It was created in 1914 and was presented to Liam Ó hÍceadha/William Cornelius Hickey (1885-1935), the secretary of Conradh na Gaelige in Dungarvan to mark his forthcoming marriage. Liam worked as a Customs and Excise officer. His wife was Katherine Power of Corballybeg Co Waterford. She worked as a baker and confectioner in Dungarvan.

The work is over one hundred years old and is a fine example of Celtic Revival artwork. The colours are remarkably well preserved. These illuminated addresses were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries to mark events such as retirement, coming of age, weddings, and so on. One of the finest creators of these addresses were John and Florence Gilbert of Cork. Michael Beary the Borough Surveyor in Dungarvan also painted addresses. A fine example of his work is on display at Waterford County Museum, presented to Captain John Veale.

This address is richly decorated with a border of elaborate Celtic Revival motifs, and vignettes featuring the Dungarvan coat of arms, the old gable wall at St Mary’s Church of Ireland, and the ruins of McGrath’s Castle, Abbeyside. The latter was probably included as that is where Hickey lived. It also features fantastic beasts similar to those seen in early Irish illuminated manuscripts. At the top of the address a real photograph of O’Hickey has been pasted on. The following is the inscription translated to English:

Testimonial to Liam Ó hÍceadha.

We, Cuallacht Chosnamha na Gaeilge (the Irish language defence committee) here in Dungarvan, wish to express our respect and appreciation to you for all you have done amongst us to promote the use of and respect for the Irish language and all that accompanies it; and we consider no more timely opportunity to do so than now on the occasion of your marriage. Our respect and esteem for you should not come as a surprise to anyone, as from the first day we came to know you to the present time, neither your enthusiasm or your dedication could be surpassed; and as well as that you were astute, intelligent and discerning, dispensing advice wisely on many occasions.

            It is not only ourselves who will  forever be obliged and blessed by your support, your efforts will also be appreciated by every other true Irish person whose wish it is to see the ancient and beautiful language of the Gael bloom and thrive again; and if every heart were as favourable towards it as yours is, it would not take long for it to be so.

            You have always scorned the bitter enemies of the Irish language and indeed, have often succeeded in thwarting the efforts of those who would see the language suppressed.

            We wish you and your wife a long and happy life together and may God spare you to assist us for a long time to come in the successful promotion of that work which we all enjoy so much.

We, the undersigned, on behalf of Cuallacht Cosnamha na Gaeilge, Dungarvan.

Domhnall Ó Fearchair (President); Seán Ó Loingsigh (Vice-President); Mícheál Ó Floinn (Treasurer). Date: 15/9/1914.

Dan Fraher was an athlete, Gaelic scholar, and had a drapery business on Grattan Square, known as ‘The Gaelic Outfitting Store’.  The ‘Fraher Field’ in Dungarvan is named after him. At present we don’t have further details about the Vice-President and Treasurer.

The address was created by Liam Ó Míodhacháin/William Meehan who lived at An Rinn in a house which he built. He incorporated a number of Celtic Revival motifs in its exterior and interior. There were wall paintings and furniture made with Celtic designs. He was born on 11 October 1874 to Edmund Meehan and Mary Coffey. He was an amateur artist/craftsman who tried his hand at a number of artistic ventures, such as gravestones, mortuary cards, illuminated addresses, and book illustration.  He designed the Stations of the Cross in St  Nicholas Church, An Rinn, and the obelisk at Helvick commemorating the Fenian ship, the Erin’s Hope. He died on 30 August 1960 aged 86.

Conradh na Gaelige/The Gaelic League was founded on 31 July 1893 by Eoin MacNeill and others to promote Irish language and literature. Its first President was Douglas Hyde. The League produced their own newspaper – An Claidheamh SoluisAccording to an article by Séan Ó Cadhlaigh in the 1902 issue of An Sléibhteánach, Dan Fraher (1852-1929) started teaching Irish classes in 1888 in the premises owned by the Dungarvan Literary Society.  They were encouraged by the P.P. Rev. Peter Casey.

On 7 May 1895 a meeting was held in Dungarvan to start a branch of Conradh na Gaelige:

A meeting was held in Dungarvan on the 7th, at which, among others, the following were present: Rev. M.P. Hickey, chairman; Messers Patrick Carmody, Kilmacthomas; M.T. Foley, Ring; Thomas McCarthy, Town Clerk, Dungarvan; Daniel Fraher, Patrick Sweeney, and James Daly, all of them representative of local men, good Irish speakers and noted supporters of the movement.  A branch of the Gaelic League was formed, a number of members were enrolled, and subscriptions were handed in, the chairman subscribing one pound.  The central committee was represented by Mr. J. McNeill, Hon secretary.

Irish classes were held in the Town Hall.  There were separate nights for the men and women. 

I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following in the preparation of this article: Liam’s granddaughters: Nóirín Westman, Muireann McGrath and Iosoilde Dromey; Áine Uí Fhoghlú; William Fraher, Curator Waterford Co Museum; NiocláÓ Gríofáin; Eddie Cantwell; and the Trustees of Waterford County Museum for permission to reproduce images of the address.  

Further reading:




Dhonnachadha, P. Ó. (2003). AN LINN BHUÍ Iris Ghealtacht na nDéise . In p. Ó. Dhonnachadha, AN LINN BHUÍ Iris Ghealtacht na nDéise UIMHIR 7 (pp. 84-86). Ballycleat: leabhair la linne.

An Śleibhteánach. 1902 

Waterford Women of The Revolution 1914-1923

 The book is available from the Museum, Eason’s Dungarvan, The Book Centre Waterford City, Book Market Clonmel and David Walsh’s shop Dungarvan. Cost €25

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