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