Waterford Harbour

Waterford Harbour
Cheekpoint village 1940's

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas crib

For me, if Christmas is about anything, it's about family and about family traditions.  I think it's how a family keeps Christmas that effectively gives it it's meaning. 

Christmas was a much simpler affair around the Cheekpoint area 40 years ago.  In the first instance limited TV access meant advertisers couldn't bombard you with the latest action man model with dizzying attachments. Expectations were also tempered with my parents childhood recollections where oranges were considered an exotic present and much sought after.  Decorations  were generally made from crepe paper and hung from the ceiling in the living room and although the tree had lights, that's where they were confined to...no flashing snowmen, waving Santa's, flying reindeer or multi-coloured multifunctioning light displays from off the eves of half the homes in the area.  Holly hung from all the pictures, and from an early age it was my brother Robert and I who were expected to gather it.  Another job was to make and decorate a candle holder for the living room window into which the largest red candle our mother could find was placed in preparation for Christmas Eve. 

Central to the festival, was the crib, which was given pride of place in the living room.  Although it was a simple enough affair it always drew our attention, but we were warned off from touching.  There seemed to me to be a blatent toruture in that, particularly to a child, of course it was touched but as the pieces were glued in place, there was little play value in it. My Grandmother's crib was a painting of the crib scene which she stuck to the wallpaper, so no risk of moving any parts there. 

The one in the church was a fine affair, with plaster statuettes about 3 feet high.  In those days it was placed in a manger constructed of timber and palm leaves with a holly bough atop.  Straw lined the base and I think everyone looked forward to the coming of the infant to the empty manger on Christmas morning.  As a child I thought making the crib must be a wonderful job, especially as you would get to move the pieces.  Matt "Mucha" Doherty was responsible for many of those constructions when I was younger.  In later years there have been several modifications, but I always look back on Matt's as a classic...but maybe it was just my age.

Faithlegg Crib Christmas 2014
Historically we have St Francis of Assisi to thank for the Christmas Crib apparently.  Having travelled to the Holy Land he returned to his Italian homeland and in the village of Grecicco in 1223 re-enacted the story of the "coming of the son" (or should that be Sun) with a life sized model with live creatures and actual people.  So taken were those who came to mass at the site that it was continued and within 100 years had spread throughout Italy.  I could find no written record of the first Irish crib but did read of its occurrence in England in the mid 17th C.  Hard to imagine that the crib was not a feature in Ireland at this point or before.  Wonder was it a feature within old Faithlegg Church?

The Magi en route to the Crib
The Crib of course, like so much in the church events throughout the year drips with symbolism.
I'm not sure at what stage I started to realise not everyone shared the same beliefs, practices or traditions, some major but some just more subtle.  The Crib is a good example of this.  There was a lovely piece on last Monday's nationwide of a Capuchin Monk in Dundalk who displays several hundred cribs from around the world over Christmas, all proceeds to charity. 

Alhough Christmas is a very different affair at this stage, a Crib still features significantly in our home.  Deena won it in the early 1990's in a Faithlegg NS Christmas draw and it was donated to the draw by Jimmy Flynn.  The stable was handmade and is a solid 3 sided build with floor and roof.  All the pieces are separate and can be moved.  Needless to say it was a big draw to our children and Deena not alone allowed them touch it, but encouraged it.  Many was the Christmas we hunted for pieces under the tree, down a settee or on one occasion out of the video recorder.  It's still a major feature of our Christmas traditions, as will be a visit to the Faithlegg Church Crib. 

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 19 December 2014

Origins of the placename Minaun

Recently I was asked for the origins of the placename Minaun. 

The Minaun as we wrote about recently is not alone the highest piece of ground in the area, its the highest in the Barony of Gaultier.  For many years it has been a walking attraction and from its height can be seen the counties of the South East.  It also boasts a commanding view of the harbour, the meeting of the three sisters and as far a the Saltee Islands on the Wexford coast.

Saltee Islands off Wexford coast

However, despite it's popularity, when you seek written verification into the placename, there is confusion.  According to google, who could argue with google??, its a "mountain meadow by a river" or perhaps a "hill of the kids" (goats??).  The mountain meadow might refer to the Parcín where generations played hurling and football and is now the residence of the Kelly's.  However, given that the Parcín was below the summit and not as obvious a geographical feature as the pudding stone on top, it seems a fanciful speculation.  The reference to goats also has some merit, Anthony Rogers told me recently that there were feral goats running freely  around it in the past, but again, I'd imagine that was a more recent (in geographical terms) occurrence and again a fanciful origin.

Canon Power in his Placenames of the Decies calls it Meannán Féatlóg or directly translated something akin to the crown shaped hill of Faithlegg.  He speculates that the Féatlóg may originate in the Irish for Woodbine - hence the Crown Shaped Hill of Woodbine, or less grandly, the peak of woodbine.  Again a bit of a reach.  Woodbine is certainly to be found on the Minaun (particularly the eastern side), as it is throughout the area, but you would imagine it would have to be a significant occurrence to deserve such a name.

Several years back, I noticed that Minaun is a name shared with another hill, this time facing the Atlantic on Achill Island in Co Mayo.  Some reading and googling again proved elusive.  One site claimed that it meant a pinnacle (a relationship there with peak).  There were also variations on the spelling of the name with Menawn (an attempt at a phonetic explanation surely) and An Mionnán coming up. 

Only this week, Michael Farrell, who's a member of the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society, shared a link on facebook about the celtic god of the sea Manannán.  Now I know this is a massive leap and totally without foundation, but none the less, I found it intriguing.  Manannán was the sea god of the Tuatha dé Danann who offered protection for sea farers, was lord of the weather and of storms and was considered a friend of dreamers.  When attacked he would wrap himself in mist to protect his possessions.   He travelled on his horse Aonbarr, which crossed the waves as if they were solid ground, and upon which he could travel back and forth to Tir na nÓg.

Accessed from http://mists-of-manannan.blogspot.ie/2012/07/manannan-mac-lir-son-of-sea.html

Could it be possible that a much earlier name associated with the celts could have come down the ages?  It would be hard to imagine that Viking, Norman and English would not have had some impact, but again, even so, very often fragments of an earlier origin remain.  I'm also struck by the similarity between Canon Powers spelling and that of Manannán.  I suppose against this is that he would have surely spotted such an obvious link if there was one? It's also pronounced much differently.

Whatever the origins, I've always been struck by the significance of the location of the Minaun.  It stands at not just the meeting of the Three Sisters, but also the gateway in Celtic times to the hinterland of the country, the Suir to the Devils Bit in Northern Tipperary, the Barrow to the Sliabh Bloom Mountains.  Vital arteries no doubt at a time when transport was by water rather than land.  It also has the commanding view of the harbour entrance and, as stated already, offers views of the entire South East.  It's surely possible that the Minaun had a greater role in the lives of others in the distant past, and such a role would surely bring a matching placename?

Ariel shot of the meeting of Three Sisters, Cheekpoint in Centre

Either way, anytime I stand on the Minaun, I can't but be taken away by the natural beauty of the place, the magic of being so close to the clouds, the majesty of the view of the harbour, the calm and peace brought by the sound of the breeze through the trees.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales


Friday, 12 December 2014

"Old Folks" party

This weekend marks an renewal of an old tradition, the Senior Citizens party. 

I recall many years back the parties going on in the Reading Room and as youngsters we passed by and could hear the voices and the music and do our best to avoid the cars abandoned on the roadside in the dark.  Cars drew up all the time, disembarking patrons to the event and when in full swing more cars drew up, this time filled with steaming pots, boiled potatoes & veg, roast turkey, hams and side dishes.  All the food was prepared in local homes and was delivered piping hot and ready to serve.  The beer and spirits had been stacked up earlier in the day, and I believe little of it had to be bought as the two pubs in the village went out of their way to provide the liquid refreshments.

Pattie Ferguson reprises here role at the party, with the Thursday Club
in Reading Room in the early 2000's - following much improvements.
Photo via Bridget Power
The hustle and bustle and organisation must have been tremendous as, in those days, the Reading Room was a much more basic building.  A small porch at the upperside was the access point. The double doors that are there at present marked the entry to the main hall which as now could be divided into two, and a curtain at the rear screened off the stage.  No space then for a kitchen, which would come in time, much less for a toilet, which from a present perspective, must be a bit shocking to realise.

According to details in the 2009 book, Cheekpoint & Faithlegg Through the Ages, the origins of the party were thus "The present Cheekpoint and Faithlegg Community Association evolved from a small group of people who got together in 1977 in order, we understand, to organise an annual dinner-dance.   At that time the local population was much smaller than at present, the postman (Martin Nugent) delivered mail by push bike from Half-way-house Post Office to less than two hundred homes.  The initial ad hoc committee comprised of amongst others Gerry Boland, Kay Boland (Doherty at the time), Patty Ferguson, Tommy and Theresa Wheeler, Helen Barry and Kathleen MacCarthy.  The “Residents Association” were formally established in 1978 with the assistance of Tommy Sullivan and Fr Michael Dee and adopted the aim of promoting and fostering a community spirit among the people of the area

The plan was to cater for all ages, from infant’s class at school to those collecting the old age pension at Wheeler’s Shop at the Crossroads. Someone came up with the idea of organising get-togethers in the form of an annual party at Christmas for the children and one for elders during that bleak period between January and March." 

It was a few years later that I got my first "taste" of the party, which at that point had moved to the school.  Then I was a volunteer member of the local Civil Defence and it was part of our duty to be mobilised into action on the night.  Either Gerry Boland or Neil Elliott would drive the ancient ambulance on the night and we would wind our way around the village and off the roads in Faithlegg to collect anyone without a lift.  The collection was usually a sober affair, serious chat about the weather, the menu, little snippets of news, the drop home was an all together more fun affair and as a teen I got great mileage out of it.

Diners sitting to their dinner
Photo via Bridget Power
The school provided great comfort in the extra space and convenience of a toilet for patrons.  The dance space was probably half as much again.  Music was provided from amongst the locality also, Jim Duffin would be eager to perform, but it was Peter Hanlon and band who provided the main act.  Singers were much in demand, and it must have been a minefield to Peter to keep the show on the road, and ensure the regular tenors or sopranos got their five minutes of fame.  A few years back we pulled together a short video of the events with photographs supplied by Damien McLellan, Tommy Sullivan and Bridget Power.

Peter and band entertaining the crowd
Photo via Bridget Power
Although we were there to work, and did so including serving, clearing and directing people around the building, we were also there to have a bit of craic.  The big draw of the night was a chance to maybe sip a beer.  The older men were always encouraging. Tom Ferguson, Ned Hefferenan and Jimmy O Dea amongst others.  As a teen, prior to going out to a pub, it was often the first time I heard great yarns, similar to the one I retold about my father at this years heritage week event.

There was also dancing to be done, and the women on the night danced with the men, with each other and if need be with us, the helpers.  This of course was a cause of mortification, but you were told to grin and bear it, and indeed you did.

Although very simple affairs, ran for very little cost and with a maximum of community goodwill the old time Christmas parties were a great affair.  Hopefully this years event will match those of the past, either way, we wish all those who are organising and all those who go along, a great night.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 5 December 2014

Working Ryan's Shore

As a child there was a popular song by Glenn Campbell called Rhinestone Cowboy.  Somehow, it wound its way into the local parlance, often sang about the exploits of a certain fisherman who worked Ryan's shore (or the shore) for a living.  It could have been about many at the time, because thirty years ago, Ryan's shore or, probably more likely known as the Strand now, was a busy place.

Ryan's shore looking down from Hurthill
All the place names on the shore are associated with fishing.  The quays, strands, paths, mud banks and even the rocks...the half tide rock jumps to my mind - a way of knowing when the tide on either ebb or flood was at its mid mark.  Ebb was most important, as Ryan's shore was an ebb tide salmon driftnet fishery, the Wexford shore was for the flood.  On the days when the wind blew north-westerly the village boats would come down to "trip off" on the shore.  It was also a good spot for ground nets in winter and you'd get a good feed of mussels off the rocks.

Paddy Moran and Michael Ferguson working the shore (1950's)

You would be forgiven for thinking that it was all fishermen on the shore.  Far from it.  In those days it was a mecca for young and old, men and women, fisherfolk and non! For some it was a walk, particularly when the wind blew from the North West, but for many it was for beachcombing.

My grandmother (Nanny) spent a lot of time down there and principally this was because it was a good source of timber.  Everyone gathered timber in those days and people had their own piles, where they gathered timber to a particular spot, standing it to dry, and easier to come back and collect.  As you walked the strand you would stand each piece you wanted.  Standing it did two things, drying it obviously but it also denoted that it wasn't just a piece of driftwood anymore - no, it was now claimed.  Driftwood washes up all the time, but it never stands itself up!  A stood up piece was claimed and woe betide any one to touch anothers.  I remember some fairly fierce rows in the Mount Avenue in days gone by as someone with a pile on their back tried to get past with someone elses timber.  If the timber was too big to stand it could be tied.  But it had to be tied to a fixed object like a rock or a tree etc. 
Drying driftwood
As Nanny grew more frail she gathered "kippings" as she called them; small pieces of driftwood that would kindle the fire for her.  These she drew together with a piece of rope and she stood her "bresnees" (phonetically Bres knees) on rocks etc.  As a teen I recall spotting the bresnee's on the strand and realising she was gone over along and raced off to find her.  Coming back I gathered the bresnees onto one shoulder and carried them home, all the time she was giving out to me about the weight I was carrying.  It was only later I realised how frail she had become, how reliant she was starting to become on others.  To her dying days, one of her only regrets was no longer being able to get down to the strand, and even two days before she died, then wheelchair bound, she mentioned it again.

But it wasn't only timber for burning that was important.  Many's the trip I had with a hammer or a screwdriver to collect boat nails or other fittings that washed up attached to floatsam.  And there was always tennis balls, sliotars and footballs.  Nanny was always lamenting the fact that people trew away such good stuff, all of which she could see a use for. 

I remember one evening I arrived home from fishing to spot a mug sitting in the kitchen sink.  Puzzled I asked Nanny where it had come from, hoping it wasn't what I had seen for weeks filled with stagnant water and dead sand hoppers embedded amongst seaweed, rushes, sticks and other rubbish.  But no, I wasn't mistaken..."shure wasn't it a perfectly fine mug?"..." who would cast such a thing?"

Next day she was having a hot cup soup out of "Lenny" having steeped it over night and scouring it that morning and for years after she was gone from us, I used it myself.  It was a sad day when it broke, but at that stage it had given at least twelve years of service.  I'll never know who did cast it, but it was a good lesson to me, part of my grandmothers philosophy on life I guess and learned in a different era.  But an era that we can learn a lot from I think.

Lenny
Glued together now, it's a memento, too fragile to store anything in...but a useful reminder that there's always something of use to be found on Ryan's Shore.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales



Friday, 28 November 2014

Who was Adelaide Blake of Faithlegg

Adelaide Blake was the third daughter of Nicholas Mahon Power, landlord of Faithlegg from 1818 to 1873.  His youngest child, she was forty before she married John A Blake MP and from her we have inherited the Reading Room and the stained glass window in Faithlegg Church.  Their story is a love story of the Victorian era and the strict conventions of the time.

Adelaide was the fifth and youngest child of Nicholas and Margaret Mahon Power who moved to Faithlegg in 1818 probably as a wedding present of the Power family of Ballinakill.  Adelaide would have grown up in the area and she was schooled, like all the children, in the school room which is now a luxurious dining area or Faithlegg House.

John A Blake (A = Aloysius) was born in Waterford city the son of a merchant and landowner, and the family home was in O'Connell St.  Blake was elected to a position of mayor in 1855 when he was not yet thirty and was reappointed to the position for three years running.  The current people's park in Waterford was constructed during his time.

In 1857 he was elected to parliament in Westminster as a liberal, and represented the city until 1869.  He stood down at this point as he was appointed as Inspector of Fisheries.  He served in this position until 1874 when the government of Gladstone fell.  He seems to have taken his duties with some energy and was an ardent supporter of an Irish fishing industry (something we have never had much vision around at official level).  Following this, he represented the county from 1880-1884 and finally he represented Carlow from 1886-87 cut short by his untimely demise.  An obituary at the time gives a sense of his passing.

I don't know when John and Adelaide first met but it could have been at Faithlegg at one of the many balls that it was fashionable to attend in this era.  It could also have been at any of the fine houses that were sited in the city and county.  Mind you it could just have easily been in Dublin, where Adelaide's mother hailed from, or perhaps the summer season in London, to which all the upper classes aspired to, and to which Adelaide doubtless belonged.

Adelaide Blake nee Power
In any case the two fell in love and courted for many years.  However, Nicholas Mahon Power was not pleased with her daughters suitor and refused any advances towards marriage.  It was not until her father died in 1873, that her brother Patrick, following a period of mourning, consented to allow the marriage to take place.

Adelaide was 40 years old (8 years younger than John A) when the two were wed and lived in Dublin or London, depending on her husbands schedule.   At the time the age was too great for children to be considered.  It must have come as quite a shock for her to loose her husband in his 61st year in 1877. He died in London and it was there that Adelaide had him buried, in Kensal Green Cemetery marking his grave with a Celtic cross.  The stained glass in the Faithlegg Church (which her father had built circa 1823) was also commissioned and installed by Adelaide in his memory.

Stained glass at Altar of Faithlegg Church
Adelaide continued to live in Dublin but was a regular visitor to the Faithlegg area according to locals.  She resided at Temple Hill in Dublin and one of her interests seems to have been historical studies and she was a member of the The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland in 1896 and again in 1900.

She finally died herself on 20th Feb 1911 in her 77th year.  Her lasting legacy to the area is not just the stained glass window or indeed her name on a meeting room in Faithlegg House Hotel, but also the Reading Room in Cheekpoint, which I've described before.  There a copy of her obituary hangs on the wall, as does her portrait.
Adelaide's obituary
Most of the information used in this piece is drawn from the work of Julian Walton's On This Day Vol 1 pp 204-5.  Thanks also to Pat Murphy Cheekpoint for much of the local information.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 21 November 2014

A fishy Tail!

It was a March evening in 1993 and my brother Robert had joined me with Pat Moran and Dermot Kavanagh as they sorted oysters on the back of a trailer in the Mount Avenue car park.  It was promising to be one of those frosty evenings, dry and cold and very still.  We had chipped in to help the lads grade the oysters in terms of shape and size, some going to a fish box for dumping, others into buckets to be bagged up for replacing on the trestles on Woodstown beach to grow on.

As we worked and chatted away Pat heard an odd sound and stopped work to investigate.  We gathered round him to see what was going on.  Nothing as it happened for a short time, but Pat was watching with a keen fisherman's eye at a point across the river at Great Island Power Station. Suddenly a great spout of water shot into the air, whilst at the same time a dark form came into view.  It was coming from the waterline near the mud below the jetty of the power station.

Robert ran to get binoculars off our father and when he returned and looked through them, he was puzzled.  He handed them round and we each took a turn, and all took turns speculating. We were joined by our Father Bob who was of the opinion it was a whale, and Anthony Rogers who had seen something similar to a whale in the river earlier in the day, but had dismissed the idea.  Always a man of action Pat announced a sortie, and we ran to get our boots and joined Pat on the Mount Quay where his boat was moored and Robert, Pat and myself headed over in the direction of the disturbance.

Approaching the scene, we were cautious to keep a safe distance.  A grey shape like a torpedo was lying in the water just off the mud bank.  There was a small fin showing well back.  There was a dividing line running the length of the body, white beneath and grey above.  Folds of blubber were lying in the water beside, where it was pressed to the surface by the grounded body.  What looked like a blow hole was facing us.  It could only be a whale!As we stared at the hulk of a body we heard a whoosh of air emitted and then the air was filled with a distinctive fishy smell, but it hadn't come from what we thought was the blow hole, which turned out to be an eye socket, and when he opened the eye it was a dark pupil surrounded by a yellow pupil and seemed to draw us all in.

The whale was about ten feet outside the waterline and inside the that, about thirty feet away, was a thin seaweed strip of shoreline which then raised up an embankment of ten feet beyond which was the site of the power station.   As the tide was rising (coming in) the distance was narrowing all the time. 

Pat put the boat ashore and Robert jumped onto the mud and walked down towards the shape.  In length it must have been ten feet that we could see shaped like a gradual hill in the water.  Robert had brought a pole from the boat to keep him steady on the soft mud.  He approached and was again drawn to a very large eye that seemed to be watching him.  Meanwhile we had pushed off and were floating close by.

An intelligent looking eye.  Photo via Anthony Rogers
As Robert approached from inside, the snout of at least seven feet raised out of the water.  It brushed his knee as it rose.  Another step and it would have risen between his legs!  Robert stumbled back, with I guess a mixture of shock and disbelief.  Next moment a tail broke water at least ten feet away from the body and began to splash and churn water.  Shocked ourselves by the size and might, we hardly noticed that a ton of water had covered us and we were wet to the skin.


At this point a car turned on the roadway on the embankment and flashed a light at us.  Robert walked in to join them.  On his return he was able to say that the incident had been reported and that a team was being dispatched from some organisation from Dublin who would be experts and who would take charge.  Discussing it, we greeted the news with some relief but said they had better hurry.  We realised that as the tide rose on the mud, each time the whale started to struggle it was to push itself further onto the mud.  The nature of the beast was trying to free itself, but was in fact further beaching and getting further away from the safety of deep water.  Not alone was it pushing forward, but at times, maybe in frustration, it's whole body turned and turned, an incredible feat for such a heavy creature.  Pat was of the opinion that if we could get some rope around the snout that maybe we could hold the creature back and make it easier to be refloated.  So Robert hopped ashore with instructions to keep well back and we returned to the Mount Quay for a length of rope.

On our return however Robert was dejected with the news that the cavalry had rung to say that they would be along in the morning when they could see what they were doing!  Apparently they were of the opinion that the whale hadn't a chance and it would be futile to try.  We knew that once the tide started to drop that the Whale would be beached and the weight of its body would crush it to death.  The cavalry would arrive to a corpse.

Robert trys to get a rope under.  Photo via Anthony Rogers

Pat was of the opinion that if we could get the rope around the long snout of the whale we might be able to swivel him about on the soft mud.  He had noticed that the nature of the beast was to push forward, and his plan made sense, however unlikely.   In the deepeening gloom we set about paying out the rope which Robert then tried to lasso around the snout .  Several times he succeeded but as we began to put weight on it as we towed away at an angle from the whale, the rope either slipped off or the whale twisted or turned out of it.  We then changed tack.  We kept one end in the boat while Robert took the other.  We were upriver and Pat steamed out around the whale whilst I held the rope and we took it downriver where we met Robert.  We took the other end from him and then hauling on both ends of the rope drew them together and managed to get them down onto the head of the whale, significantly further than we had managed before.

We twisted the ends of the rope around the after thwart and Pat gunned the engine.  Miraculously the rope held and we could feel the tension take on it.  Measuring our progress against the lights on the shoreline we could see that we were inching along.  Pat slowly altered course bringing the bow of the punt further away from the shore but suddenly the whale reacted.  In stead of helping he went against us.  He started to pull away from us and not having any luck, he reacted by turning over and over and somehow the rope snagged.  Rather than us pulling him, the whale, just like a bucket being pulled up out of a well on an axel, we were hauled into the path of the whale.  Too late I reacted by loosening off the rope, as he turned we were dragged into him, then up onto him and the engine was broken off the stern of the boat.  Pat managed to hold on to the engine as we mounted the top of the whale, but for some reason just as we were about to be tossed out into the river, the whale stopped.  the punt slipped back into the river...we were safe, but my legs were like jelly and to be totally honest I wanted to go home.

But then we had a bit of luck.  The rope had stayed snagged.  And although the engine was damaged we now had the rope firmly placed around the body of the whale, it had even shifted further onto the body.  Pat had another idea.  We retrieved a further length of rope and with it I went ashore to Robert.  He had gone up to the men from the power station and they had managed to find extra rope.  We tied the ends together and then joined them on the embankment.  I didn't know any of them but explained briefly what had occurred and asked would they be willing to try and haul on the rope and it might just turn the whale away from the mudbank.  All were willing and between us we lined up like some berserk tug of war team going up against a ten ton truck. 

Pat Moran hatching a plan, me looking on. Photo via Anthony Rogers

Someone suggested getting a car to tow it, but we were worried about doing more harm and so decided in the first instant to try with manpower.  We began to heave and I have to say I was crushed when the rope just simple came towards us and I was convinced that it had come off the whale.  In the dark we could not really see.  But then as painful as feeling we had failed the whale, came a feeling of pure joy.  The rope hadn't come away, Pat's plan had worked.  In the gloom, with only the lights of the station, we could make out the tail of the whale splashing in the water and then the rope started to slip from our hands and incredibly he headed out into deep water. 

A few weeks later the rope we used was recovered by Paddy Duffin when fishing for Salmon down on the mud.  For weeks after we listened to news reports etc but no mention of a dead whale were heard.  Although we would never know for sure that the whale was saved, the only thing we can know for sure is that he didn't die on our watch.  I never did find out if the cavalry arrived.  No one seemed interested in our story.  But I guess had it happened in daylight the national media would have been there, as would the cavalry...but I wonder would our whale have survived to tell the tale.

Our best guesstimate was that our whale was 30 feet minimum.  In referring to the reference books we considered it to be either a Fin or a Minke whale.  Maybe if the experts had arrived we might have known!

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 14 November 2014

Views from Cheekpoint Village

Rivers

Cheekpoint is a traditional fishing village located 7 miles downstream from Waterford City. It has been an important navigation point for the ports of Waterford and New Ross as it is located at the meeting point of the three sister river network, the Barrow, Nore and Suir. Between them they drain an area of land second only to the Shannon.  The Suir 114 miles long, and the Barrow 119 miles long, (the Nore joins the Barrow above New Ross) combine beside Cheekpoint and create the estuary that flows out to the Atlantic. 

Meeting of the Three Sisters.  Photo via Anthony Rogers

Cheekpoint Quays.
Cheekpoint was reputed to have a settlement of Ostmen (Vikings) in the distant past.  It was also of strategic importance to the Normans.  The first references to a quay date from the time that the Mail Packet Station moved to the village.  The Station was created in Cheekpoint in 1785 by local landlord Cornelius Bolton.  Cheekpoint Quay would have been the point of departure for all mail, including some freight and passengers, from Waterford to Milford Haven in Wales during that time.  Several ships were employed on the service and it was run by a Welsh Quaker, Captain Thomas Own.  The station operated until 1813, when it was moved further down river to Passage and then to Dunmore East in 1824.  The present quay was constructed in the 1870’s, as was the lower quay breakwater, and both have seen several upgrades and additions down the years.  More about the quay here.

Cheekpoint in 1960's  photo by Martin Power via Déaglán De Paor

 The Barrow Bridge
The Barrow rail bridge was for over 100 years the connection that linked the SW of Ireland via Waterford to Wexford and Rosslare port.  It is 2131 feet in length and consists of 13 fixed spans mounted on twin 8 foot diameter cast iron cylinders filled with concrete.  11 spans are 148 feet long and the two closest the opening are 144 feet.  Because the port of New Ross is above the bridge and an opening span had to be added at the deepest part of the river channel.  The railway is a single track steel line, built within the protective casing of a mild steel girder frame with cross trusses.

Sir Benjamin Baker designed the bridge.  Tendering commenced in late 1901 and was won by a Glaswegian firm - William Arrol & Co.  Both men were responsible for some of the finest engineering constructions worldwide, of their age.  The winning bid was £109, 347 and work had commenced by June of 1902 and was opened on the 21st July 1906.  The bridge served its purpose until Saturday 18th September 2010 when the last commercial train crossed over. 
It has several distinctions as a bridge; it is the longest railbridge in Ireland and it was also the last major rail line to be constructed in Ireland and the bridge the last major piece of infrastructure.
Previously we covered the planning and construction of the bridge, its opening and eventual closure.
 
Add caption
Power stations

There are now two Power Stations across the river at Cheekpoint at Great Island.  The station on the left is a redundant oil burner.  The building of the station started in 1965 and the first phase was finished in 1967. A second phase and chimney was added by 1972.   The chimneys are 450 feet high and are almost as high as the Minaun.  There were 5 storage tanks on the site each holding 17,000 tons of oil, which was delivered via oil tanker ships.  At it’s height the station employed up to 70 people.  The most recent station is gas burning and its set to open this month, November 2014.  The gas is delivered by pipe and the new station is said to have a lifespan of 30 years.  The entire site is believed to be over 170 acres of land.


Fishing Weirs
A distinctive factor in the Cheekpoint fishery was the use of fishing Weirs. An example of which can be seen above the main quay.  The weirs originated with the coming of the Normans in 1170 and since that time were responsible for much of the fish caught in the area, either directly or indirectly.  They could provide year round fishing.  Weirs could be used under licence for Salmon fishing, for white fish in autumn and winter and also a source of bait for the summer Eel fishery.

Eels like the heat and during winter disappear into the river mud to sleep.  They emerge when they decide it’s warm enough and feed voraciously.  This feeding frenzy suited the fishermen well who used baited pots to capture them.  The Eels had to be kept alive prior to their sale, and were exported live to the Netherlands. The buyers would arrive on the quay with their water tanks on the back of trucks and the fishermen first weighed the eels and then loaded them into the tanks for export. The village has a unique distinction in that it still has a number of weirs in operation.  This is unique not just in Ireland but also in Europe and most probably the world.
I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  

F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 7 November 2014

Snowhill house and quay

Snowhill was, until recently, a mystery to me.  As a child I assumed it had to do with snowdrops, the late winter/early spring blooms that lift your spirits and reassure you that warmer, longer days are on the way.  Later I was told it's origins related to an old mansion which was sited there, but infuriatingly no more.  It came as a lovely surprise one day to be in the Waterford County Museum an find the photo below.  Its an old scene of Cheekpoint and it has Snowhill in the distance and the mysterious house.  I was so intrigued by it, I bought a copy and it still hangs from our living room wall.


Recently however I came across some more information that helps me understand it a little more.  Snowhill is on the most south eastern tip of Co Kilkenny, and the townland is known as Drumdowney.  You will often see Drumdowney mentioned on maps and charts and particularly Drumdowney point or as we also call it "the point of the wood" where the Barrow Bridge connects Wexford to Kilkenny

But the Snowhill placename originates from a Cromwellian family, the first of which was a man called John Snow who was described as a "master tentmaker to the army in Ireland".  I can only speculate that he received the land as a gift, similar to the Bolton's of Faithlegg, for his part in the Puritan invasion. 

Apparently Snowhill House was built by a descendant, most probably Sydenham Snow who married a Mary Bonham in March of 1764 and they moved into their new home in 1765.  It was described as a "massive Georgian block, 5 bay front, doorway with a very large fanlight.  Impressive hall with columns, splendid oval stone staircase with balustrade of brass uprights"  It was also described thus; "...demesne of 100 acres with a 6ft. wall all round.  A deerpark of 30 acres with a wall of 8ft high"

spectacular front of the house

The last of the Snow family was Elizabeth and she married a merchant by the name of Patrick Lattin1792 but financial problems followed.  It was sold to help pay of the debts in 1808.

A good sense of perspective on the House
In 1808 it was purchased by the Power family who would later have first cousins on the opposite banks in Faithlegg & Cheekpoint.  The purchaser was one Nicholas Power and in much the same way that I think Faithlegg House was bought as a wedding present for Nicholas Mahon Power it would appear his cousin Nicholas purchased Snowhill for his son David and his Cork born wife, Elizabeth Nash.  The Powers retained the house until 1953 but under a new name - Power Hall.  Alas underinvestment had significantly undermined the structure and the house was pulled down in 1955.

Nowadays only the demesne walls and outhouses remain.  And despite the fact that Faithlegg House seems to have been a grander house, it had nothing like the connection with the River Suir.  Snowhill had a very fine quay - L shaped with a find breakwater of poles to the eastern side.  This was a deepwater quay and although the ebb tide meant the dock dried out was still a very safe haven.
 
Entrance arch to Snowhill Quay

Snowhill Quay and dock, Glazing wood in distance

Snowhill quay still has hints of its once significance and to walk up from the quay towards the house highlights how beautiful it must once have been.  An old boat house remains, roof gone and doors no more, but only begging to be refurbished.  The grand old trees, many fine and rare specimens of oaks and limes still adorn fragments of the old demesne. 

Old Boat house

Now a working farm, it appears to me like some once grand sailing boat now reduced to a sailing hulk, moored away on a redundant quayside.

All of the specifics about the house and history is information supplied from Jim Walsh's account of Snowhill House and Estate in "Sliabh Rua, A History of its People and Places" p429

Julian Walton mentions another family in connection with Snowhill in his recent book - On this day Vol I pp154-55 which will require further study.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Friday, 31 October 2014

Oiche Samhain

As a child, Halloween was a lot simpler and cheaper.  There again in the mid 1970's with one TV channel and limited radio, the ability of advertisers or foreign TV shows to influence our daily lives was much less than today.  Although they are very different countries between then and now, perhaps the most striking change is in how we celebrate Oiche Samhain.

Oiche Samhain comes apparently from the old Irish word for end of summer, marking the move from light into the darkness of winter.  It also marked the end of the harvest.  Halloween apparently is of Scottish origin, a shortening of the term All Hallows Evening - Hallows relating to saints - the evening before all saints day on Nov 1st.  At home we were told that on Oiche Samhain the souls of the dead came out to visit. We should dress up and cover our faces when going out so as to confuse them and not risk being taken away with them.


For me the first sign of Halloween was not an add on TV but would have been making our mask in the week before it in Faithlegg NS, as part of our arts and crafts activities.  Corn flakes boxes would have been the primary source of cardboard (we always thought anyone with Rice Krispies were posh because our mother refused to buy them!).  The process was simple.  The scholar made out their design on the inside of the cereal box, cut out the eyes and coloured the mask to their own preferences.  The more artistic might add horns or pointy ears, and a piece of elastic or string finished the piece so that it would hang in front of you face.  If memory serves it would take the whole week and as we went home for the midterm break, the mask would be worn home.

On Halloween night the mask along with an old coat or a big sack would be thrown over us and we went out to the bonfire.  I don't recall going Trick or Treating as it would be known now, though I do remember going to a few houses on occasion. You would knock on the door and would be expected to entertain with a song generally.  In those times you got an apple and some nuts...No sweets, no money, no crisps, no drinks!  Given that we had loads of apples at home and bags of nuts, getting more hadn't a great appeal. 



Home was always busy on Halloween.  Mind you houses weren't decked out in the way we decorate for the event now.  The day passed slowly as a child, as you had to wait for dark for the festivities to begin.  Barmbrack would be eaten, my mother hadn't always the time to be baking and she sometimes got a brack from Portlaw bakeries who delivered to Ellen's shop in the village. The brack would have a coin, a stick and a ring.  I always wanted the coin needless to say.  My father would make up a snap apple with two pieces of timber crossed over with pointed ends with apples pushed on.  It was suspended by string and it was a difficult balancing act to get right.  We then stood with hands behind our backs and tried to catch an apple in our mouth, always mindful of not biting on others spit-filled fruit.

The other activity was the money coin in a water filled basin.  Again hands behind your back you had to submerge your head into the water and try get the coin off the bottom of the basin.  Generally impossible, but given how scarce money was, worth almost drowning yourself .

The fruit and nuts would have secured from Gerry Welsh the Saturday prior to Halloween.  Gerry the veg as he was universally known came out from town to Cheekpoint every Saturday into the late 1980's and he stopped at various points around the village.  His stop in the Mount was at Mrs Barry's and all the neighbours would gather round to take turns and have the chat.  Gerry would have all the news from the previous day in Passage and he always had sports news for us boys.


The big thrill at Halloween was the Coconut.  My father made a big thing out of it.  He would use the reddened poker to burn a hole in the top and out of which the milk was poured.  He told us it was healthier for us, and how he had climbed palm trees in the south seas as a sailor to pick his own.  A great man for a story! I can't remember that milk ever being drank.  The nut was then cracked open with a hammer and we got to eat some of the flesh.  Again, it was mostly hung up for the birds to feed on in the days following.

I don't remember any pumpkins but I can remember trying to carve out a turnip on occasion and the pain in our hands from the time it took.  Apparently when the Irish emigrated to America the tradition of carving a turnip went with them.  However, it was replaced when the local pumpkin proved to be much easier to hollow out and carve.  The turnip below certainly looks more malevolent.

Carved Pumpkin
accessed from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/asenseofplace/2013/10/oiche-na-sprideanna-approaches/


The big part of the night of course was the fire.  In those days the bonfire happened in the Knock behind the Mount and so we could wait until we saw the night sky light up before we went over, particularly if it was raining.  The fire was magical and we danced round it as children, not realising we were celebrating and re-enacting an ancient tradition.  Although there was always complaints about the smell of smoke, that was as much part of it as the games.

The following morning was All Souls, a holy day of obligation, and an important festival to mark also.  That was probably why my mother complained about the smoke and the smell.  She would have to ensure we were scrubbed before we headed to mass. 

All told it was a much more simpler time.  Very different from the commercial affair that marks the night now.  But it's interesting to note, than although commercialised and Americanised to an extent, it's still a ancient celtic festival to which we have a deep connection

Friday, 24 October 2014

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars

As a young boy fishing in the river, the one thing I hated more than anything, was keeping up to the nets with an oar.  Pity the boy that let his mind wander and the boat blow off the nets, or worse, onto the mud on the flood tide on the coolagh (cool ya) mud.

I first began regular fishing in 1979, finishing first year in secondary school.  The holidays coincided with the Peal run, when the salmon men reduced the driftnet net mesh size to catch the smaller, younger salmon entering the rivers.  I'd fished before this, but only occasionally.  Maybe a drift of a summer evening, or a few tides, doing little more than watching from the bow twart. 

To be asked to fish was a big thrill.  It meant long hours, hard work, plenty of wettings and plenty of excitement.  It also meant some cash in your pocket, and my father always said unless you could jingle a few coins in your pocket that you had earned for yourself, we weren't yet a man.  But it was also an education...a real education after the excuse of a one I had suffered over the winter.  We learned the nets, tides, weather, river, fish and hard work.  But of all of it, it was the oars that caused me the most hardship.  It wasn't so bad if you were part of a younger man's boat like Pat Moran or Anthony Fortune.  He wasn't wedded to the oul ways...but if you happened to be fishing with his fathers generation, or my fathers, the best ways were the old ways which included many hours at the oars. The week started at 6am on the Monday morning and ran for the week, 24hrs up to the 6am on the Saturday.

In the past the oars had been the only method of propulsion for the punts in the area, apart from the use of sail, which was not a common method and something I never saw used.  It would remain so until the introduction of outboard motors after the second world war. 

A modern styled rowlock
The oars used were of red deal and generally fitted into the punt to allow for secure stowage.  The oar was made from 6"x'6" red deal timber plank.  It was made from one piece for strength.  It had a carved handle, which allowed for the palm of the hand to cover it, a counterbalance, which meant that the oar was easier to manage when being used singlehanded.  A collar of leather was fitted where the oar fitted into the rowlocks.  This meant that the rubbing of timber on timber didn't happen as it would quickly wear away.  When using the oars in dry weather you'd have to use the bailer to throw water over the collar or the sqweeking of it would drive you mad.  The shaft of the oar tapered off to the blade which was again the width of the plank and allowed the rower to catch a good piece of water to drive the boat forward.

The rowlocks on the punt were carved from oak and shaped to allow the oar fit nicely in place.  The Rowlocks were bolted to the gunwhale and two Thole Pins (pronounced Towel here) were hammer into 1" drilled holes on either side of the oar.  Ash was commonly used as it was a durable timber.  I once used Hazel as it was nice and straight and I thought it looked smart.  But when rowing hard on the mud the thole pin snapped and I went head and arse into the bow, so never again.

An old oar in a sunken punt

There were particular points to be learned about rowing.  One was when you were told to row, you rowed, if you were told to "row hard" you really put your back into it.  "Back" was another command, and if your mind had wandered, or you weren't paying attention you could be in real trouble.  "Pulling" when you were supposed to be "backing" could mean loosing a fish - a cardinal sin, and one to be reminded of time and again.

After leaving the shoreline or the quay we would "steam" (use an outboard) to the start of the particular drift.  This could mean a wait or perhaps we could set straight away, determined by the time of tide and the particular drift.  Waiting  with other punts was usually fun, as you would hear all manner of yarn.  The nets would be set with the engine and once set we would "out oars" and for the remainder to the drift would row to "keep up with the nets".  The skipper would be on the aft oar the boy on the bow or for'ad oar.

Row hard(ish) Chris Doherty Bow oar & Mick Murphy

On some drifts only part of the nets were set, like flood tide on the Coolagh mud or ebb tide on the point.  You would keep up to the nets for a particular place and then would set the rest.  The older men preferred setting the remainder with the oars, meaning you had to keep on rowing on the bow oar while the skipper rowed with one hand and set the nets with the other.

After a winter sitting at a school desk your hands would be soft.  As a consequence those first few days at the oars would be hell.  The welts would rise within a few minutes.  By the half hour mark they would be black and blue and swollen.  You might think putting them in the water would ease the pain, but it was of no benefit.  There was a partial ease when the welts burst but then the when the salt water leaked in it stung like hell.  There was also the muscles in your arms that would be aching and the back to which you could find little ease.  Of course by the end of the summer these would be only memories, but to be relived the following summer.  

Tom Fergison (bow oar) Michael Ferguson, "keeping up to the nets"
Photo credit: Tomas Sullivan

Hauling the nets also required the skipper using the oars to keep the punt "on the nets"  As you hauled the skipper stayed midships and the boy went astern and each took a rope.  As you hauled the punt would either drift across or off the nets and with the momentum of the haul the skipper could put out either the aft or for'ad oar to bring the boat back in or out off the nets.

Once aboard it was time to set again and if you were lucky, the boy got to lower the outboard and steam back to the start of the next drift.  If you were really lucky you might get to set the nets with the engine...a real step up.

Over time the use of the oars diminished and in recent times, up to the closure of the Salmon driftnet fishery in 2006, many punts would not have even carried an oar.  The outboard which had become more dependable and men more skilled in their use, took over in many aspects of the fishery practice.  Today if you look around the quays you will see few enough timber punts and fewer oars.  Something that diminishes the village in my opinion. 

In case anyone thinks I'm complaining about the work we had to do let me offer you this quote by the American comedian George Carlin on a definition of hard work; "hard work is a misleading term. physical effort & long hours do not constitute hard work. hard work is when someone pays you to do something you'd rather not be doing. anytime you'd rather be doing something other than the thing you're doing...you're doing hard work.”  

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Reading Rooms Cheekpoint


Pat Murphy of the Green always told me that according to Aggie Power of Daisy Bank House (Susan Jacobs Grandmother) the Reading Room was built in 1895, the year a horse called The Wild Man of Borneo won the Grand National. Mrs Adelaide Blake, (originally Adelaide Power - Faithlegg House), who then resided at Fairy Mount had it built as a free library for the people of the area. I always wondered what it would have looked like in this era, with the pot bellied stove sitting in the middle of the floor and people sitting around in it reading a paper or a book or playing cards and chatting. 

At some point in my teens I read D.H Lawrence's Sons and Lovers.  In the story the central character, Paul Morel, struggled to move away from his working class mining roots in Wales through, in part, his visits to the mining unions sponsored Reading Rooms.  In it were stocked lines of books and a supply of current newspapers, that the miners and their families could be better informed and have broader horizons.  Had this been Adelaide's intention?
 
The Reading Room has always been a feature in our lives in Cheekpoint.  For social, health, community matters and education, it has played a continuous role.  For some it was probably a tentative role, an occasional visit but to me it was always central, important and respected.
Jim Duffin playing "the Box" 1990's
Photo credit Bridgid Power

One of my earliest memories was queuing to attend a sale of work coming up to Christmas time.  Doors opening, we rushed in to buy a comic, book or some toy or other. Home baking was also part of the day and if lucky we might get to share with others in a bag of homemade buns or biscuits and a fizzy lemonade.  Whatever few bob we had would be quickly spent, but I could always rely on my Grandmother for an extra dig out.

At the end of the day we might pick up some pieces that no one else would buy, as the place was cleaned up and I recall Martin Nugent (and later Jim Duffin) burning some magazines and other odds and ends outside by the back door.  In those days a tall hedge blocked the "Hall" as we sometimes called it, from the road and all around was a mixture of grass and mud.

The Hall in the past was a simple affair.  No toilet, a small porch, the large room that could be divided in two by sliding doors and the stage area and back door which was an addition in the early 1950's.  Tommy Sullivan's father Chris had taken on the job, with the help of local volunteers.  The Hall had been originally made of a timber framework with corrugated iron walls and roof and internally was panelled by wooden lathes.  The "insulation" was horsehair and there was many the night that we huddled around an old Superser gas heater trying to keep warm.

Sunday morning social gathering 1940's
The stage at the rear of the hall was used for concerts and as a musical stage and in our own times as the space where the DJ's of the youth club discos spun their vinyl discs.  Principal DJ was Philip Duffin and deputy was Michael "bugsy" Moran.  Philip preferred disco, Bugsy was rock and it was always a bone of contention.  I can still remember Bugsy stripping wires with his teeth in an effort to add an extra speaker to "burst some eardrums".  My first and last appearance on the stage was a mid 70's concert where I performed "Little Boy Blue", not my finest hour!

Ray McGrath regales the villagers at a recent Heritage week event

There was also a brown wardrobe which gave the hall its other function this was the Dispensary.  I'm a little in the dark about the origins of it, but in our day it was where you went on a Tuesday to see the doctor and the wardrobe was unlocked and swung back to reveal an array of medications, timber spatulas for depressing your toung and worst of all - syringes.  At some point in the 1980's the wardrobe disappeared and locally it was known that there was some issues about medications being stored in "inappropriate places"  It was only a few years back in Dungarvan that a local man told me how he and friends used to travel around the rural dispensaries in a search for drugs, he joked about how easy it was to break into these cabinets and to both medicate yourself and provide an income boost from supplying others! 

John Jacob entertaining the Thursday Club 1990's
Photo Credit; Bridgid Power

I've written before about how important it was as a venue for civil defence.  But it was also a space for community meetings and social gatherings for young and old.  It was the need to improve conditions for all members of the community that spurred voluntary efforts in the 1980's and many years after to improve the hall to the standards it is at now.  Details of those many volunteers were captured in a 2009 publication "Cheekpoint & Faithlegg; Through the Ages" via the Development Group


My Aunts Margaret O Leary and Ellen Doherty (RIP) at last years craft fair
photo credit Becky Cunningham - Cheekpoint FB page


I've often heard remarks about the Hall being unfit for modern purposes.  And to be honest, it probably is a bit modest compared to some of the venues that are on offer in the area and that citizens might be used to availing of.  But for me the Reading Room is a special place, filled with memories, fulfilling a modest useful purpose and a testament to the vision and probably the hopes for the community of Adelaide Power. Ar dheis Dé a anam Adelaide


I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.

My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales