The Gaultier Historical Society is a group of individuals based in East Waterford, Co Waterford - incorporating the coastal villages of Cheekpoint, Passage East and Dunmore East. Waterford is in the South East of Ireland and has a rich heritage in history, historical sites and culture. We organise a range of events and new members are always welcome.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Julian Walton on the History of Passage East
Passage East 1784
This lecture took place in the Ocean Hotel,
Dunmore East to a substantial audience. Julian chose to base his talk on an
eighteenth century painting of Passage East which showed clearly the extent of the
village at the time and the fine fortifications and Blockhouse that were still
intact and helping to control traffic on the river. Also in the picture is the Church of St Anne, newly restored at the time. A
feature of the painting is the evidence of a busy port with substantial
buildings and a military presence.
Having outlined the history of the fort since the
15th century and it’s importance to the protection of the City of Waterford and the
building of the Block house in the 16th century, h e also traced the
interesting history of St Anne’s Church which is still a prominent landmark of
the village. He noted the significance
of a painting by a French Artist being commissioned prior to the building of
New Geneva and we were left to speculate whether there was a connection.
then outlined the impressive history of Passage from the landing of the
Normans, Strongbow, Henry 2nd, Prince John and later as King John
and the huge army of Richard 2nd in 1394.
Passage East 2014
The granting of lands to the Knights Templar and
their development of the ferry which gives Passage its name (Passagium). Then we heard of the failure of the pretender
Perkin Warbeck whose fleet anchored at Passage from where he later left. Julian
spoke of the Commercial and Traveller aspects of the village where boats waited
for suitable conditions before heading to sea in convoys protected by warships
and of the hotel and inn accommodation provided in the village for travellers.
He also touched on Oliver Cromwell’s attempts to
and the need to secure Passage to that end. Passage also figured in the
departure of William of Orange and James 2nd following the Battle of the Boyne. Into the 18th century, we were told of
the Waterford /
connection and the attempted establishment of a New Geneva
in Ratheen near Crooke, followed by it’s use as the notorious “Geneva Barracks”
during the 1798 rebellion.
Julian stressed that in one lecture, one could
only touch the surface of the abundant history of this remarkable place. As a
society, we hope over the coming years, to present lectures on specific parts
of that history so that we can better understand how important this part of the
South East is to the overall history of Ireland.
Ruins of Castle seen in 1784 painting above
Above are the ruins of the castle prominent in the 1784 painting. Ballyhack Castle is just visible in the background