Monday 8 September 2014

Historical Walk around Passage Co Waterford

On Tuesday 26th of August, the Society organised our third summer evening walk of the season. There was a fine attendance of more than 35 interested members and friends. Our Chairperson Ray Mc Grath welcomed everyone and introduced John Burke who would lead the walk and the other Committee members, Bob Desmond and Michael Farrell. Also in attendance was historian Michael Fewer who contributed to the conversation during the event.

The walk began at the Community Centre which includes a preserved portion of the Kippering House. The one acre site known as the Park was acquired in 1900 under lease from Lord Waterford. Arthur C. Miller ,a Billingsgate fish buyer working in Donegal was sent by his company John L Sayers Ltd to look into the viability of starting a  fish smoking/curing business in the south east. He supervised the construction of a Fish House for the purpose of Fish Curing and Storing. It was completed in 1901 and continued to operate  and provide employment until  1964. It had three tall brick Kilns (2 single and 1 Double). It was a great success The fish house could smoke 50 cran of herrings a day..(about 38,000 or 8 tons.) Arthur Miller died in 1953 and the business was continued by his family. The barrelled herring were sent to England and the continent by ship and by the boat/train ferries. Boxes of fresh fish and bloaters and Kippers followed the same routes. Ray, whose family were closely involved in the same industry in Dunmore explained the process of smoking Kippers.

The next stop was the Memorial Garden, constructed by Passage East and Crooke Development Association in memory of all those who have lost their lives at sea. There are very few families in Passage and Crooke whose lives have not been touched by losses at sea.
 Fort including tower in 1784 painting
Present day remnant of tower
Then we arrived at a small tower. This is all that remains of Passage Fort. The Park and the eastern part of the village was the site of the Blockhouse and Fort of Passage.  By 1497, the Mayor and Commons of Waterford had built a blockhouse in Passage. which had some guns mounted on it and from which ships going up and down the river could be controlled. This was for the defence of the city and security of boats and ships and the maintenance of good rule and order amongst the fishermen and  in order to pay for the upkeep of the fort at Passage which defended the river , all fishing boats had to pay a toll with some of their catch....a basket of herrings from the herring boats or the best fish from the other boats.To increase the security of the garrison in 1590, a wall was built around the Block House . It took two years to complete the wall. It was an oblong enclosure At the south east corner was the Blockhouse while small round flankers stood at the other three corners. It is one of those flankers that is still standing.

Passage Strand where Normans Landed with the Hook visible in distance

We then walked by a footpath at the top of the beach. John asked us to look south and observe Hook Lighthouse and the mouth of the Harbour. He explained that it was this ease of access to shelter and a convenient landing spot for shipping that made Passage such an important place in Ireland’s History. This was the scene of the Noman landing by Strongbow . He arrived with a large army (1200). in August 1170.  He landed at Crooke and joined forces with Raymond le Gros and together they captured the city of Waterford with great bloodshed.  
This landing was followed by  King Henry 11 in  1171. He feared opposition and he sailed from Milford Haven with a fleet of 250 ships, 500 Knights and 4000 men including Welsh Archers.  His son Prince John also landed here in 1185 and landed at Crooke with 60 ships , 300 knights and 2000 soldiers. He returned in 1210 as King John and began to impose his authority.
After the Irish rebellion of 1315-1318 with Edward Bruce, English influence in Ireland began to wane. In 1394, King Richard 2nd came to Ireland to try and re-conquer it He arrived in Passage with the largest army ever to disembark in Ireland; a massive force of 30,000 archers and 4000 men at arms. He himself continued to sail up to Waterford where his army awaited him. He was acknowledged by most Irish chieftains as Lord of Ireland and left feeling satisfied although he had not regained one acre of land. Within four years he had to return. Michael Fewer helped us to visualize the logistics of transporting a large army across the sea and the impressive not to say frightening sight they must have presented to the local population.

Beresford Row
As a complete contrast, we were then shown the old road from Passage to Crooke, now no longer in use. There was a part of Passage  which has now gone forever due to the effects of sea erosion. Before it was necessary to abandon the old road there were many acres of fertile land producing crops annually. First the protective storm-wall was undermined and then the fields were washed away. The people of the district had to decide whether to build another storm wall or construct a new road. The new road was decided upon and work began in 1897. Four houses had to be demolished and the owners were compensated to the amount of £100 per house….a good sum in 1897. The children would have used the new road when their new school opened at the top of the road in 1898

Alward’s Castle was next on our walk..  When the Bruys family died out around 1450 their lands (which included Passage) went to the Aylwards of Faithlegg. Peter Aylward succeeded to the property in 1531. Among other improvements, he built a house in Passage which has been called the Castle but was in fact a well constructed house some of which still remains. It’s main feature is the old doorway which is in the backyard of the existing house in the form of a pointed arch above which are the Aylward coat of arms on the right and the Sherlock coat of arms on the left. (Katherine Sherlock). Peter built a quay, diverted the stream from St Anne’s well and made other improvements.

                                                       Aylward's Castle

 This property passed to Peter’s son Sir Richard Aylward. He continued to develop his estates and passed them to his son Peter. This Peter died in 1645 and was succeeded by his cousin John Aylward. His castle in Faithlegg fell to the Cromwellians  and all his lands were confiscated. By the time  of Cromwell, the Aylwards owned almost 11,000 acres including all the land around Passage and the rights to the ferry and all the quayage and dockage of the wharfs and quays.

Site of Market House

Next door are the offices of Passage East Car Ferry. This was once the Market-house. This was used during fair days which were held on May 6th, June 12th, September 8th and November 12th..for the sale of butter, fish and other farm and home produce. It was also a meeting place. In 1746, it was reported that “There is a good Market House in the town and the other houses are in good repair”.
By 1784 another report noted that “. The Market House was now in disrepair. The builders who were working on New Geneva were asked to give an estimate for the repair of the Market house but nothing came of it.” Later in the 1780s a request was made to the Government, via Mr James Cuffe who had been in charge of the New Geneva project, to set up a school in the large room of the Market House, particularly for the purpose of teaching Navigation. It was intended to be non denominational. Methodism began in the early eighteenth century as a religious movement within the Anglican church ,led by John Wesley (1703-1791). He visited Ireland a number of times travelling on horseback and preaching.  In his journal, John Wesley relates an account of a visit to Passage on Wednesday June 14th 1769.. He preached in the Market House. He said “The whole multitude was tolerably quiet and many seemed much affected”, Four years later he was back this way again. He was coming from Wexford and came to the ferry. The sailors tried to put his chaise into the boat but the chaise tumbled off . In less than an hour they had fished the chaise out of the water and back on the boat.  His bags were still on the shore so none of his papers got wet. He went across on the ferry, leaving the horses behind to come after. Finding that there was no other transport available, John Wesley could not wait and walked the seven miles to Waterford and began to preach on the text “My yoke is easy and my burden light”.
Former School House

Our attention was then drawn to a fine two storied house covered in beautiful ivy, the home of the Walsh family. This was used as a school from 1859 until 1898 when a purpose built school opened at the top of the Crooke road. The National system of Education was established in 1832. A commission on the state of education in 1824 found that there were 5 schools in Passage of varying quality . An application in 1846 was accepted and two different rooms were  provided.  James O Neill was the Male teacher and was the first National School teacher in Passage He was 34 and trained at the model school in Dublin. He came from New Ross. The teacher of the girl’s school was Mrs Ellen Delaney , an experienced lady of sixty years and untrained. She retired in 1849 and Bridget Rogers  from Ramsgrange was appointed. The girl’s school house had to close because the Board objected to the fact that it was above a pub. Miss Rogers taught the girls in her own house until 1859 when both schools moved to this house nearby (with the ivy on the walls). When the children moved up to their new school in 1898, the Girls were being taught by Ms Margaret M. Byrne from Co.Galway and Ms Agnes Keane from Co.Mayo. The boys were taught by Mr John Hearne and his assistant Mr Edward Baston from Passage.

We then looked up to the hill over Passage and observed St Annes Church.   West Passage and Knockroe were part of a larger manor called Coolmacsawry. It belonged to the Bruys family. In 1284 they gave a grant of six acres including the Oratory of St Anne to the Master of St Mark’s Hospital in Bristol. Bristol was a stronghold of the Knights Templar.  It is shown in various maps, sometimes in disrepair. It was repaired in 1615 and now served the recently established  Church of Ireland.  A new church was built on the site by 1746. It had a regular service in it.  It was again extensively restored  about 1820. It continued to be used by the Church of Ireland until it was deconsecrated and sold in 1978. The church was also used by the “Mission to Seamen” which was very active in the 19th century and of great comfort to the crews of visiting ships.As the evening began to close in we could see the Car Ferry plying it’s trade. We heard that Passage/ Ballyhack is the narrowest part of the estuary and is a natural crossing point. When the Knights Templar arrived in 1200 they were granted the Ferry rights. The Latin name for a ferry is Passagium hence the name Passage.  In 1635 , Sir William Brerton travelled from Ballyhack to Waterford. He said “I crossed over to Passage.  The boat was rowed by four oars.  Horses were brought over two or three ar a time”.   Various forms of boat were used over the years to transport, Horses, Carriages as well as pedestrians and cyclists before the Car ferry was instituted in 1982. Many people on the walk remembered  when the ferry was run by Patsy Barron. His boat was the Mary. The Car Ferry was begun in 1982 by Edmund Donnelly and his son Derek. Their first boat was the “Dunbrody” which carried 15 cars. This was followed by the Edmund D in 1995, and the present boat is the “Tintern” which carries 28 cars.

As we stood on the quay side we were reminded that among the famous visitors were Perkin Warbeck, the pretender…1493, who left Ireland from Passage. Also, King James 2nd who fled these shores after the Battle of the Boyne and also King William of Orange who came to Passage with the intention of departing but left some days later from Duncannon. Michael Fewer also reminded us of Queen Victoria whose boat anchored outside Passage which at that time was  “famous for it’s Salmon”. Ray spoke of the numbers who left from this village to work on the fishing grounds of Newfoundland. He then rounded off the walk by quoting from a poem by Donnacha Rua Mac Conmara in which he speaks of visiting Passage to get on board a ship as so many hundreds of thousands did before the invention of the steam engine made Waterford City more accessible and led to the demise in the fortunes of this special place.

In thanking the walkers for their attention and participation John reminded them that there is plenty material for a completely different walk which could cover, the Knights Templar, New Geneva and Geneva Barracks, Cromwell’s capture of Passage Fort and the Mass Rock in CarrickSaggart. Hopefully, the society can organize this in the new year.

Parade Square

Post Office Square

Sunday 10 August 2014

2nd Heritage Walk - July 2014

                                     Nymphall  but where was  Nymph Hall?

The second Heritage Walk continuing last month’s ramble through Dunmore East was conducted by Ray McGrath on behalf of the Barony Of Gaultier Historical Society . It took place on Tuesday last 22nd July at 7.30. The attendance was amazing.
View of Dunmore Park from Haven Hotel 
 Ray was accompanied by John Burke and Bob Desmond of the  committee.

We began at the People’s Park (Pairc Na mBo). Ray paid tribute to the trustees and members of the Parks and Woods Committee who give so much of their time to make sure that these amenities are available to us all and to Lord Waterford of Curraghmore who originally gifted them to the residents of the village. The walkers numbered around thirty at the beginning but the numbers swelled to more than fifty by the time the walk reached the halfway mark.

Haven Hotel 

 Our next stop was the Haven Hotel, previously Villa Marina when owned by the Morris family and built originally by the Malcolmson family of Portlaw who were also responsible for the “Fisherman’s Hall”. Ray outlined the history of that notable family making particular reference to their ship-building fame in the “Neptune” building yards in Waterford. He also drew our attention to the style of architecture used in the house and stables, a style that is similar to other buildings of theirs. We proceeded out the back gate and walked down “Cuckaloo” to St Andrew’s church.
Former C of I School
St Andrew's
 We gathered as best we could at the entrance to the rectory and were delighted that Gina Cobden was present and willing to talk of the history of the Church and to mention a number of notable burial places in the church yard. Most of us hadn’t realised that before St Andrews was built, the Church of Ireland Anglican Community attended services at a church in Rathmoylan. John Burke then made reference to the building beside the Rectory which was the Church of Ireland School from 1848 to 1921. The number of children in the school was as high as forty due to the attendance of the Coast Guard Officers' children who mostly came from England and lived in the houses across from the “Ocean Hotel”. Following independence, most of these families returned to England and the Coastguard houses were burned. The school closed soon after, due to insufficient numbers.

Ladies Cove Approach to Round Tower
The walkers (now numbering more than 60) proceeded down the lane towards Ladies Cove to the remains of Dunmore “Castle. John Burke gave an account of the history of the Manor of Dunmore which was granted to Heverbrict in 1203 by King John. It later passed to Michael Fleming and family. In the early 14th century it was granted to the Butlers who passed it on to Richard Power of Curraghmore in 1475. He it was who built the Castle with a surrounding wall. There are no records of it being used other than as a watch-tower and occasional accommodation for soldiers. By the insurrection of 1641 it was largely abandoned. The Governor of Duncannon Fort feared that the rebels from Waterford were using Dunmore as a dropping off point for arms and ammunition from foreign ships. On June 27th 1642, two ships with sixty musketeers and Capt Weldon in charge left Duncannon and attacked Dunmore. They met little resistance and burned the “town”, taking three fishing boats and their gear without being interrupted. John Burke suggested that the account of the attack submitted by Duncannon to their masters in London was greatly exaggerated.

We then went up to the entrance to the woods on the “High Road”. Ray spoke of the RIC station that was there and is now a private dwelling as well as the remains of some houses that were still occupied when the RIC station was attacked during the War of Independence. Having walked along the High Road, we reached the “Horse Quarter” and Ray told us of the existence of a Livery Stable to service the needs of passenger traffic from the hotel as well as the transport of fish to the city. He also drew our attention to the old water pump just one of a number of  such facilities that were such a feature of life before motor cars.

Walking along the Low Road we reached Curraghmore Terrace This was built by Lord Waterford to house his staff when he and his family and guests came during the summers to live in their house by the harbour. That house later became the Bay Hotel and later still the Convent of the Mercy Sisters. Ray told us about some of the people who lived there including relations of his, the O’Neills, who worked for Harney’s in their Bakery (now the Azzurro).

Glenview Tce
Now, nearing the end of our walk, we made a small detour to see the terrace opposite the fire-.
station. The five houses facing the road are very pretty and well known to us but by going down a small lane at the side, many people were surprised to see four more houses backing on to them. They are smaller houses, beautifully maintained in a secluded almost secret place. There is also a memorial to the memory of the people who lived there in the 40s and 50s. Coming out of the lane was like leaving a cinema and getting back to reality.

We then walked up towards Councellor’s Strand and halted at Wellington Terrace which was a very desirable place to live in old Dunmore. Bob Desmond reminded us that this area is know as “Nymphall”
 Captain Henry Aland, an officer in Cromwell's army acquired possession of land in this area in 1660. It is probable that he refurbished an existing structure which he named Nymph Hall. In 1714, The Captain' great grandson, Aland Mason, inherited the house and other properties. A nephew of his, Henry Alcock, rebuilt the house in 1736. It was described as the agreeable country seat of  Sir Henry Mason by a visitor in 1744. The Townlands had been redrawn and this area known as Glendemey was incorporated with other parcels into Nymphall which is now a town land. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the site of the original Hall. The sea immediately below us is called White House Bay in some ancient maps referring we think to the original Nymph Hall. Henry Mason owned a fine boat which he named “The Nymph” which he kept in Passage. When William Doyle the Hydrographer visited the area in 1736 while making new maps of the British Seas and Coasts he made use of Mr Mason’s boat to survey a fishing bank of unusual richness in terms of quantity and variety of fish. He named this the Nymph Bank and as such it is still known.

There is still a lot to be seen and known about in Dunmore and in our August walk we hope to delve further into nooks and crannies of our local history.

Monday 21 July 2014

Barony Of Gaultier Historical Society Quarterly Issue 1

Barony Of Gaultier Historical Society  Echo

A Quarterly newsletter  of the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society

Issue 1 July 2014

The society is pleased to present this newsletter.   We would like to produce a newsletter regularly during each year – perhaps every three months depending on contributions from members and the public.     To do this we are relying on you the reader to send in material -  recollections, photos,  items of heritage or historical interest, references etc.   This is in keeping with our mission which is to increase awareness of our  local history and heritage leading to the recording or conservation of relevant historic sites and other material.  Local history is a collaborative process and exists best where people are willing to share memories and relevant information.   We would like to dedicate this first edition to all those  who over the decades have  gathered and shared information about our past in this very historic Barony of Gaultier.
There are many topics that are relevant:  the story of our townlands,  the historic buildings and field monuments,  the lifeboat story,  customs,  the story of our Pilotss,  the fishing and fishermen,   people,   place names,  field boundaries,  etc. 
Edward Phelan
Edward Phelan was Secretary General of the International Labour Organisation in the years following the Second World War and was a major player in saving the ILO by moving it lock stock and barrel to Montreal from Geneva in 1941 when its existence was threatened as war gathered round Switzerland.   Edward spent some of his childhood in Gaultier staying with his grandfather, a sea captain, in his house in the village of Cheekpoint.   His description of the journey he made by car along the back roads of the Pyrenees seeking an obscure crossing point into neutral Spain  as Hitler ordered Gen Franco of Spain to close the border reads every bit a spy thriller.  
But even more important for Gaultier history is his account of Cheekpoint in the last years of the 19th century.   He tells us how he used to walk down the hill from his house as the paddle steamer from New Ross rounded Dromdowny bound for Waterford.   His account is found in the book, Edward Phelan and the ILO which is available in the Waterford Library.
Hospice Field Day
The Society’s Hospice Field Day takes place on Sunday July 27.  Venue for the event as usual is Flynns Field in Killea. The entrance is next to Hayes’s Pub.   The exciting programme begins at 1 pm and will continue throughout the afternoon.   Over the past 4 years the Field Day has raised for Waterford Hospice close to €15,000 and we are asking patrons to be as generous as they have been in the past in helping push the Hospice Fund towards its target.
Summer evening Walks
The first of our summer programme of evening walks took place on Tuesday June  24.  The theme of the walk was the history, houses and peoole of the upper village.  It was a lovely evening for the walk and close to 40 people came out to hear the story of the village including the building of the quay and Lighthouse,  Dunmore in the days of the Milford Packet  and the contribution of some ‘legendary’ former and present residents.  The next walk is on Tuesday July 22.  It starts at the Park main gate and will take in the Lower Village and its interesting history.  A good stretch of legs is involved  as we climb up over Counsellors and come back via Killea.  Walks starts at 7.30 pm and members of the Society will be on hand to share their research with us.
Evidence of Mesolithic settlement in the area.  Noel McDonagh has been walking Creadan Head during the past few weeks and has found a substantial number  of flints which possibly indicate a level of settlement in the area which goes far beyond previous estimates.   These finds will now be discussed with State archaeologists  hopefully resulting in a clearer picture of early stone age life in Gaultier – probably dating back earlier than 4000 BC.  Congratulations Noel.
World War 1 in Gaultier
On the night of August 5th 1917 the German submarine U-44 under the command of Commander Tebenjohanns, exploded and sank off Dunmore. The U-44 had been laying mines and it is believed that it hit one of its own mines.   29 members of the crew were killed with only its commader who was in the conning tower surviving.  Three local men, two Power brothers and Jack McGrath put to sea when they heard the explosion and eventually plucked Tebenjoahanns from the water.  Jack used to tell the story of how Tebenjohanns apparently unconscious lay in the bottom of the boat until they were coming up to Black Knob and then raised himself and exclaimed ‘ we must be at Dunmore now’  This was before anyone saw the lighthouse.  Jack used to tell this story to indicate how this man was so skilled in navigation that he knew exactly where he was all the time.   The submarine was eventually raised and it’s logbook indicated that it had sunk 28 ships since the start  of that year.
Queen’s Terrace – How Old?
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage dates the Queens Terrace Dunmore East houses to c.1900.   Yes there is a persistent story of houses being built on Queens Terrace to house the families who were involved in building the pier and lighthouse in the period 1815-1826. There is also a reference to the Terrace being once called Kerry Terrace or Kerry Lane.   Mr William Power tells us that there were older ‘cabins’ on Queens Terrace at one time but on the other side of the street.  Is it possible that these were the Kerry Terrace houses built for the Pier workers, many of whom it seems came from County Kerry.  Can anyone provide clarification and add to to the village story.  Material to Ray McGrath at  Many thanks.
Crooke and the Knights Templar
In the late 12th century Crooke was one of the most important grain growing  areas of Ireland.   The land here sloping down to Waterford Harbour just uphill from Passage East was the property of the Knights Templar, the controversial warrior monks whose overall mission it was to protect pilgrims and possibly Crusaders going to the Holy Lands.   Their local job was to work with their fellow Templars across the Harbour near Templetown to monitor activities in the Harbour.  The late eminent scholar and historian, Dr Niall Bryne in his book The Irish Crusade which is available from Waterford Library outlines the extent of the  output  of  these  lands of the Templars at Crooke.  In one of his last lectures,  part of the Society’s 2011/2012 winter series , Dr Byrne gave a memorable talk on the Crooke Knights Templars to a packed audience in the Ocean Hotel Dunmore East.  Read more in Dr Byrne’s book.
Brownstown Pillars
The Brownstown Pillars date from the 1820s and were erected following the loss of the Sea Horse in Tramore Bay as part of the beacon system to prevent further disasters in Tramore Bay.  The three pillars on Newtown Head with the Metal Man in central commanding position formed the other arm of this warning system.  Ships frequently mistook the opening to Tramore Bay for Waterford Harbour and often ended up going aground or wrecked.   They were built in 1823 and designed by George Halpin who  was at one time involved in the inspection of Dunmore Lighthouse before its commissioning in 1826.  It is most likely that they were whitewashed making them even more visible from sea.
Kill St Lawrence Cemetary
Kill St Lawrence Cemetery is in the Barony of Gaultier about three miles from the centre of Waterford City. It is on the Southern side of the city and on the Western side of the Airport Rd. It has the ruins of a small church within it’s walls which is dedicated to St Lawrence and a pattern was held there every year of the Feast of St Lawrence, August 10th until the early 1800’s. A wall was built around the graveyard in 1878 because there were burials being carried out during thehours of darkness. This contravened the Health Act of 1878. When the foundations were being excavated, some bones were discovered that indicated that burials had taken place outside the present boundary.
The graveyard was used during times of plagues such as typhus, measles and smallpox. During the construction of the Airport Rd in 2002, evidence was discovered of an earlier much larger enclosure which is now covered over with plastic and lies under the present road. Radio carbon puts this earlier settlement at between 650-780AD.
Autumn 2014 Lecture SeriesThe Autumn series of lectures kicks off on Wednesday September 17th with Michael, Farrell who will present a talk entitled Gaultier in 1914. Michael has been researching the subject for the last few months and his talk is much anticipated. In Wednesday October 15th, Damien McClelland will give a talk entitled Walking Through History on the Road to Santiago. Damien has walked to Compostella several times all from diferent starting points. He is currently investigating the role of Waterford Harbour in the story of the pilgrimage. On Weds. November 20th, Damien Tiernan will talk on the Waterford Involvement in the First World War. Some of Damien’s research on the subject was featured on a recent Nationwide programme with particular reference to the memorial wall in Dungarvan. A surprising number of people from Waterfrod City and the Gaultier area fought or died in the war and the talk will be an opportunity to discuss their story.

Correspondence and material to Ray McGrath at and Woodhouse, Cheekpoint, Co Waterford . Deadline for next issue os September 1.

Monday 14 July 2014

Dunmore East Heritage Walk Number 1 Guided Walk

Dunmore East Lighthouse 

On behalf of the Society, Ray Mc Grath organised a  “ Summer evening history walk”  in Dunmore village,on Tuesday evening 24th of June.

The walk commenced at the Dunmore East Lighthouse where Ray spoke about Alexander Nimmo the Scottish Engineer who designed the Lighthouse and the new harbour. The harbour was to accommodate  the packet station for ships which carried the Royal Mail between England and Ireland.  In 1814 the work commenced and was completed in 1837 at a final cost of £108,000. By then the arrival of steam boats allowed the mail to be brought directly to Waterford. Dunmore then gradually became an important fishing port. While walking around to the other side of the harbour, the twenty five walkers were informed of the other features of the harbour as well as the history of Shanoon and its promentary fort (now sadly destroyed) that gave the name to Dunmore; Dun Mor; The Big Fort.

The party continued up the “Island Lane” and Barracks Lane,to the Coast Guard’s Houses which were burned during the War of Independence and later restored. We then proceeded up Queen’s Terrace which was built in 1901 and named in honour of Queen Victoria, who had just died that year. It had been called Kerry Lane before that in reference to a number of Kerry workers who had accommodation there.

Queen's Tce aka Kerry Lane

Barracks Lane aka Post Office Lane
While walking around the “Circular Road” and  looking into “Harbour Village “ that used to be knows as Pitt’s field, Richie Roberts spoke about Arthur Westcott Pitt who launched a venture aimed at starting Ireland’s  first commercial Airline and Airdrome. The   Airdrome which witnessed many exciting Air Shows in the 1950s was in the area occupied by Shanakiel and Airfield Point Housing developments. It was also mentioned that A.W.Pitt  flew as a commercial pilot during WW.2. He delivered newly constructed aircraft to the various airfields around Britain on behalf of the RAF

Tír na nÓg Former home of A Westcott Pitt

Continuing on the circular road, we arrived out on the main Dock Road again and Richie spoke about the thatched cottages that are so much a feature of Dunmore East. We also mentioned Thomas Burke’s Grocery Shop He had a boat building yard at the back of the shop and the finished vessels were lowered down the cliff face at high tide to be launched.His business passed on to his daughter Gertrude whose reputation for ice cream cones is still remembered.

Nelty Woods' home and school
    Further on John Burke spoke about Dunmore East Girls school. Although there was a school in the village in 1825, the first school that was recognised by the Board of Education was a girls school begun by Mary Pyne in 1849. Her father was the teacher in Killea. When she left after a few months, she was succeeded by Miss Ellen Woods who lived with her mother Catherine in Glebe, Killea. Over the next six years, she raised the school’s reputation to a high standard but the building was unsuitable and she left in September 1855 and went to Limerick The following year she came back to a better
Harbour Hotel
building outside  which the walkers were now standing. They heard that Ellen “Nelty” Woods continued to teach her 50 children there with a Monitor and later an Assistant Teacher until she retired in 1884. Four years after her retirement the Tragedy of the “Alfred D Snow “ occurred and Nelty Woods wrote the well known ballad that describes the details of that terrible shipwreck and loss of life. The year after her retirement, the Mercy Nuns arrived and occupied the former Harbour Hotel (which became the Mercy Convent) where they educated generations of girls in the village and surrounding country. When the convent closed, the girls moved into the new school. Light of Christ N.S.  John also mentioned the Church of Ireland school beside St Andrews Church which opened in 1848 and closed in 1918. This will be mentioned again in the next walk.

Fisherman's Hall
We then proceeded down to the Fisherman’s Hall, built by the Malcomsons of Portlaw, who also built Villa Marina (The Haven Hotel) as a summer home.. This walk ended at Emerald Terrace where our attention was drawn to a plaque commemorating the fact that Patrick Lafcadio Hearn stayed there from time to time.

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn aka Koizumi Yakumo, was born on Lefkada island in Greece in 1850. He was son of a Greek mother and his father was an army surgeon from Co Offaly. He lived in Dublin for most of his young life and spent holidays in Tramore and Dunmore. He was sent to the U.S in 1869 and became a journalist in Cincinnati. He went to Japan in 1890. and began teaching. His reputation is mainly based on his work there.  He was an international writer, best known for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories. He is also know for his writings about the city of New Orleans, based on his ten year stay in that city. There are cultural centres and museums named for him in Japan and the U.S. His work is important as it gives an insight to Japanese culture at a time when Japan was unknown to the Western world. There is also a plaque to commemorate a local hero, Patrick (Paddy Billy) Power, an award winning coxswain of the Dunmore East Lifeboat who lived there for years with his sister Annie.
Lafcadio Hearn  and  coxwain Billy Power plaques 

 While talking of notable people who lived in the village, Richie mentioned “Otto” Norwood who flew for the RAF in World War One. He is said to be the only pilot who flew at the commencement of the war and survived to the very end in spite of having been shot down five times, once it is said by the famous “Red Baron”.  His planes were used mainly to take photographs of the enemy positions and trenches and so provide vital information to the army on the ground.                                                                                                                                                                  
Petra Home of Norwood Family

Ray then thanked the walkers for their attention and many questions and promised that on our next walk in July we will proceed to the lower village. All agreed that although there were no famous battles or national events here, we have a very interesting history….a people’s history.

Coastguard Houses

Saturday 7 June 2014

Update June 2014 & Secretary's Report

We have been somewhat remiss in keeping this website  up to date. However the society has been active in other areas. This was outlined in the secretary’s report to the AGM earlier this year , a copy  is attached below.

 Secretary’s Report for year 2013

This was another very eventful year.
Planning for the 2014 Calendar was begun earlier than usual and was well received. Thanks especially to Richie Roberts, Michael Farrell, Margaret Brookes and Geoff Power for all their work in this regard.

The Threshing and field day was held  on August 5th, having been delayed due to dreadful weather. It was very successful and raised  much needed funds for our chosen charity for this year…Waterford Hospice Movement.

The single biggest event was the commemoration of the publication of Matthew Butler’s “History of the Barony of Gaultier in 1913. In conjunction with Waterford News and Star,  Ray McGrath on behalf of the Society supplied a series of 48 articles to the News and Star based on Butler’s work entitled “Rambles in Gaultier Revisited”. The articles were much enjoyed and have been highly praised. Many people made a point of collecting them all and they succeeded in their purpose of alerting local people to the legacy of Matthew Butler and to the richness of the Barony’s history. Our thanks to Ray for a great job done.
The series of articles was launched on January 12th in Jack Meade’s and featured a talk on Butler by Julian Walton.

A welcome addition to the years activities was a group trip on August 25th, 'Heritage Sunday' ,to visit  the “Caiseal”– The Knockroe Passage Tomb in  Co Kilkenny.  It included a talk at the site which is in wonderful condition and is an example of what can be achieved when the proper authorities cooperate with the local community. The passage tomb has been under going several years of excavation, led by Muiris O Sullivan from the Dept of Archaeology at UCD. 

Andrea Waters from UCD speaking at Knockroe Passage Tomb

Eastern Tomb in foreground, Western Tomb  in background

The nearby village of Tullahough was bedecked with bunting  and in celebratory mood. Refreshments were served in the old school house which also contained an exhibition of photographs and documents. We  also visited the Old Slate Quarries which were abandoned in the early 1900’s  and  the famed Crosses of Ahenny to round off an enjoyable day. Hopefully we can organise more such trips in the future.

There was an effort to move the Harristown project forward at a meeting at the Giant’s Grave during the Summer, but it has become clear that we do not have the resources to proceed without a significant commitment from National or Local Government.

Continuing our series of lectures as well as organising historical trips seem to be the best way in which we can keep our membership (which now numbers 52), engaged and interested.

 Other Events 
 In addition to the lecture on Passage by Julian Walton, we also had the following speakers ;

22/1/14   Michael Farrell  on ‘The History of the Gaultier Cooperative Movement’
19/2/14   Noel McDonagh ‘ A Virtual Tour of The Pre Christian Sites in Gaultier’
19/3/14   James Eogan on ‘Discovering Prehistoric Gaultier'

As mentioned above, the series of articles ‘Rambles in Gaultier’ was very well receive , even beyond the Barony. A sample is included below and there is a proposal that the complete collection should be published in booklet format. We have selected the Leperstown extract as we have been contacted by a reader in America whose ancestors came from that area and his interest was aroused by the report of Dr Niall Byrne's lecture on the Knights Templar.

Rambles in Gaultier Revisited 26. Leperstown and Leckaun

This is an example from a  series of articles by Ray McGrath and published in the, Waterford  News & Star newspaper covering the Matthew Butler book 'The History of the Barony of Gaultier'

This extract is from Matthew Butler’s book ‘The History of the Barony of Gaultier which was published 100 years ago and the centenary of which we are celebrating with this series.
Edmond Payne had a school here in a thatched mud cabin which cost £2 10s to build, and in which 19 pupils found accommodation.   He derived an annual income of £4 for his labours.  There was another scholastic establishment conducted here by J. Barry, which had an attendance of 70 pupils, for teaching whom Mr Barry received about  £2 10s yearly.  The school was usually conducted under a shed or in a ditch, the state of the weather probably deciding its location.  Here (Leperstown) also lived another flax  and wool spinner named Judith English. She was 60 years of age at this time (Census of 1821).  Then there was John McCarthy  who describes himself as a ‘dog teacher’, but the enumerator (Census of 1821) has a note to the effect that he met him some time before at Jeffrey Murphy’s in Dunmore and that he is much better known as a ‘dog stealer.’ The latter is a more usual occupation, but it is possible that in order to induce the dogs to come to him for their instruction it was necessary to use a little compulsion.  This may have given the idea that he was stealing them. Mary Power, 65, was also a flax and wool spinner, while John McCarthy ( not the one mentioned already), 54,  was a piper.

City Infirmary built  as the  Leper Hospital in 1785
This replaced the old Leper House in Stephen Street

Leckaun  ( Butler spells it Likcane)  It is a neighbouring townland between Leperstown and Killea and Butler is referring to the census of 1821.    There was a school here, with an attendance of 32,  and Bridget English, aged 30, as  teacher.  Among the other inhabitants was Eleanor McNamara, a spinner.


 This is all Butler says of Leperstown in his History.  The townland lies on either side of the Dunmore road on the high ground starting just  beyond the Creamery Crossroads and about 2 miles from Dunmore.    In the Civil Survey of 1654 which followed the Cromwellian confiscation the owner of the townland  at that time was  given as ‘the poor of Waterford’.  The townland which measured 419 acres in 1641, all of which was profitable, was named Loopartstown in the Survey and it was given to Lazar’s Land.  The Lazar was the St Stephen’s Leper Hospital in  Waterford.  Leperstown was a source of income to maintain the hospital and in an inquisition ( enquiry) held in Waterford in 1666 there is confirmation that the Leper Hospital owned the townland.  The revenue from the ‘ploughlands’  ( a variable measure of profitable land common in the 17th century and earlier) was considerable-  valued at £106.   The original grant by charter from King John  and subsequent construction of the Hospital  dates from 1210 but it  was not clear to the Inquisition by what charter the lands at Leperstown were attached but  it was nonetheless acknowledged that in 1641 they were owned by ‘the poor of Waterford’.   It is very interesting to read in the report of the Inquisition which was discovered in the Franciscan monastery in Clonmel that leprosy was present in the city and surrounding countryside  at that time and if a leper did not get a licence  ‘to go abroad’  the victim’s lands could be confiscated and given to the Leper Hospital.  Moving to another area of interest,   an interesting book about the Sheehan family of Leperstown was publishedt in British Columbia in 2004 written by an emigrant to Canada in the 1950s Catherine Sheehan.  It is a fascinating account of life and especially farming in Leperstown in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

 The series is a contribution of the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society and the Waterford News and Star and is  edited by  Ray McGrath.  .