Waterford Harbour

Waterford Harbour
Cheekpoint village 1940's

Friday, 26 May 2017

Fenians in Dungarvan Bay, The Journey of the Erin’s Hope

This months guest blog looks forward to a significant anniversary this year when in June of 1867 a band of Fenian freedom fighters were landed in Waterford having journeyed across the Atlantic to join in a planned insurrection.  The ship was commanded by a Waterford man, and although it was unsuccessful it was none the less a courageous act and I'm delighted that my cousin James Doherty took the time to write it up for us.

Invasion has threatened Ireland on numerous occasions in modern history. In 1867 however, this threat lay untypically, to the west. The British administration were not worried about a European superpower attempting to use Ireland as a stepping stone towards the mainland rather they were concerned with landings by members of the Fenian Brotherhood. A nationalist Irish organisation pledged to the violent overthrow of British rule in Ireland. 

In 1867 the Fenians announced their plans for rebellion in Ireland. The organisation however was riddled with informers and the planed uprising only produced a few skirmishes with police and rioting in Tallaght that was quickly brought under control. Unaware of the failed rising, plans were hatched in New York to send a large quantity of munitions (Between 5000- 8000 rifles and several small cannon) and a party of forty Fenians to support the rebellion in Ireland . On the night of the 13th of April 1867 the Brig Jacmel set sail, bound for Ireland and insurrection[i]
"The Brig Jacmel"
From Harpers Weekly
In charge of the maritime element of this expedition was Captain Joseph Kavanagh of Passage East, Kavanagh (also spelled Cavanagh) had been recruited to the Fenian movement in New York by a tavern keeper called Baston who also hailed from Passage[ii].

On the 18th of May the Jacmel by now renamed the Erin’s Hope approached the Irish Coast. Almost immediately things started to go wrong. When the gun-running expedition arrived off the Sligo Coast she showed the pre-arranged signals but got no reply. Captain Cavanagh who was in charge of the expedition went ashore where he met a co-conspirator Richard O Sullivan Burke. O’Sullivan Burke advised Kavanagh of the real state of the insurrection and advised him to leave the area immediately. This was timely advice as the authorities had dispatched a gun boat to investigate this mysterious brig.[iii] 

Initially Cavanagh set sail for the Cork coast where he had been led to believe some of the Fenians were holding out. However due to bad weather and having to play cat and mouse with Coast Guard cutters the expedition arrived off the Waterford Coast near Helvick on June 1st. At this stage the members of the expedition were getting desperate and they hailed a fishing boat and asked to be brought ashore. A local fisherman (under considerable duress) landed 32 Fenians (The boat was named the Finín) which were then spotted by a vigilant Coast Guard who immediately raised the alarm. 
The Finín in later years, via Waterford Co Museum
The Waterford News of 7th June described in colourful terms the circumstances of this mini invasion. “Not since the French landing at Killala has more consternation been caused by the news of the landing of Fenians” The News went on to describe how the “foreigners split into groups of three and four and scattered through the countryside”, 26 Fenians were quickly arrested and brought before magistrates in Dungarvan where a variety of elaborate cover stories were sworn to. The authorities mounted an armed guard on the local jail whilst a transfer to a more secure location could be arranged. Throughout all this it was reported that the Fenians were in remarkably good spirits.[iv]

In what amounted to almost a carnival atmosphere the Fenians were brought in seven carriages to the jail in Waterford the next morning. The streets in Dungarvan were thronged and the prisoners were led out to great cheering. Security was very tight with a large party of the constabulary and sixteen soldiers of the 17th Regiment. On arriving at the outskirts of Waterford City the party was met by Mr. H.E Redmond R.M and a further force of thirty constabulary armed with breech loading rifles[v]
Waterford city jail - Ballybricken via
http://www.waterfordtreasures.com/news/bite-size-culture-talks-ballybricken-jail-and-the-jail-wall-disaster
On Monday the 10th of June the group of prisoners that had been sent from Dungarvan received two visitors a Detective Talbot and J.J Corydon. Talbot and Corydon (real name Corridon) were loathed by the Fenians as Corydon was an arch informer and Talbot had infiltrated the Fenian movement working as a double agent . The Waterford News of the 14th of June described their visit to identify Fenians. The paper referred to the “two obnoxious characters” and in colourful tones compared Corydon to Judas Iscariot. Corydon’s visit and his notoriety ensured a crowd numbering in the thousands which necessitated the whole force of Waterford Constabulary being turned out to escort the informer and the spy to the safety of the train station[vi]. 

The security surrounding this Fenian situation may have seemed excessive however subsequent events would prove otherwise. In addition to the main body of Fenians who had been detained and brought to Dungarvan a smaller party of four had been arrested heading towards Cork and had been brought to Youghal. These were to be reunited with their compatriots in Waterford. 

On the night of the 13th of June four Fenians in the company of a small party of constabulary from the County of Cork stepped off the 8.45 train in Waterford. They were expecting to be met there by the local police but were disappointed. The Cork detachment of police started to proceed towards the gaol exciting considerable local interest. As they went some of the local police they encountered joined the group as the crowd following them grew larger and more hostile. Soon stone throwing began and the local police advised taking shelter in the Lady Lane police station and calling for reinforcements. [vii]

Just after 9pm the reinforced party left the Police Station heading for the gaol. The force of police now measured forty on foot and fourteen mounted. However the hostile crowd had also grown in force consisting of “Salters and Labourers with a sprinkling of fisherwoman who would prove the most formidable of assailants”. A full scale riot ensued as the police battled their way towards the safety of the gaol with the prisoners receiving many blows in the chaos. 

At the gaol once the prisoners were safely secured the Constabulary turned to face their assailants who numbered in the hundreds. Head Constable Barry ordered a bayonet charge which resulted in “one unhappy man named Walsh being stabbed through the heart” and several other rioters and police seriously injured. It was stated later that the prisoners were highly incensed by the actions of the crowd and were grateful to make the safety of the gaol.[viii]

A monument in Helvick of the event via
http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/an-irishwoman-s-diary-on-a-one-ship-fenian-armada-1.2114413
By the 14th of June both sets of Fenian prisoners were together and were sent by train to Dublin. The Evening Mail reported that the prisoners were met at the Kings-Bridge terminus by a strong detachment of mounted constabulary and two full troops from the 9th Lancers[ix]. Meanwhile the Erin’s Hope would loiter for some time around the Irish coast until still having made no meaningful contact with Irish Rebels it would set sail and return with its weapons still in their boxes.

Although unsuccessful the Erin’s Hope returned to a hero’s welcome in New York City and Kavanagh returned to life as a ship’s Captain. Despite his flirtation with the Fenian movement Kavanagh would later become a supporter of John Redmond. Dr. Nicholas Whittle Sinn Fein director of elections would complain in later life of the “fatalistic loyalty” shown to John Redmond by the people of Waterford and used Captain Kavanagh as a prime example of this support[x]
Captain Kavanaghs last resting place
Crooke graveyard, Co Waterford
A commeration of the landing at Helvic will be held on 11th June at the commemorative monument (pictured above).  Details here via a facebook event page, but briefly hosted by Cumann Staire & Oidhreachta 150th Anniversary.Assembling at Murrays Bar, An Rinn at 2.30pm to leave for 3.00pm
Music in Murrays Bar after wards with "Throwing Shapes"  Thanks to Willie Whelan of Waterford County Museum for passing on the information.

Guest Blogs...The intention of the guest blog is to offer a platform to others who are writing about the maritime heritage of Waterford harbour an opportunity to publish their stories. If you would like to contribute a piece, please email me at russianside@gmail.com. The only criteria is that it needs to have a maritime connection to the harbour and a maximum word count of 1200 words. I will format, source the photos if required and add in the hyperlinks. Guest blogs will be published on the last Friday of each month. 

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:  
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[i] ttp://www.waterfordmuseum.ie/exhibit/web/Display/article/323/3/The_Fenian_Landing_At_Helvic_The_Jacmel_Sails.html
[ii] Ibid
[iii] Ibid
[iv] Waterford News 07/06/1867
[v] Ibid
[vi] Waterford News 14/06//1967
[vii] Cork Examiner 15/06/1867
[viii] Ibid
[ix] Dublin Evening Mail 15/06/1867

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Waterford Boy Sailor

I read recently that some children do not leave home until 27 years of age.  Although this has less to do with protection and more to do with finances, spare a thought for the child sailors of the 18th & 19th C. It will comes as no surprise of course to anyone who read the stories of Horatio Hornblower or watched that fine movie Master and Commander.  But the Royal Navy had very marked shortages in crew, particularly at time of war.

Boys as young as 12 were recruited, often as a means of escaping poverty, others as a means of punishment or reform, to fill various roles aboard ship. These roles included servant boys, cabin boys, carpenters mates, and, what I have read was the worst job in the navy, a Loblolly boy - surgeons mate. The navy was also a career of course and the families of the middle classes also sent their boys to become midshipmen who through study and experience might enhance their opportunities.  A phrase used to capture the lot was Younkers.
Philip Richard Morris - Two Young Midshipmen in Sight of Home
http://19thcenturybritpaint.blogspot.ie/2013/02/
The life of the younkers was a mixed one no doubt, and probably very much depended on their posting and those given charge of them. But there were opportunities for advancement and the greatest Master and Commander of the era, Admiral Nelson started life as a twelve year old midshipman. We also had a midshipman from our locality, Henry Bolton. I'm not sure if we can say his career was typical, but it is certainly interesting.

Henry was the youngest son of Cornelius Bolton. The Boltons were the owners of Faithlegg House, now hotel of the same name, and Henry was born there in July 1796. Unfortunately not being first born put the young lad at a disadvantage and on the 19th March 1809 he joined the Royal Navy, signing on as a First Class Volunteer aboard the 74 gun ship of the line HMS Victorius.  He was a few months short of his 13th Birthday

He first saw action during the Napoleonic wars, when the Royal Navy in alliance with the Austrians tried to cut off the French fleet at Flushing and invade the low countries. The so called Walcheren Campaign was a disaster from start to finish and saw the deaths of 4000+ British troops, the vast majority from illness.  Henry survived however.

example of a fifth rate frigate such as HMS Thetis 
He next saw action in the Mediterranean, and finished off his stint with the ship when during the war of 1812 declared by America against the British. His ship limped back to home following a grounding incident while trying to blockade American ships in the Elisabeth River and he was transferred to the HMS Tiber.  He served on the Tiber from 1814-1815.

He joined the HMS Opossum in Arpil 1815, a Cherokee class Brig which saw service in the Channel and the North America Station.  He served under Commander John Hay, who would later to rise to a position of rear Admiral.

His next ship was the Sloop, HMS Blossom, on which he served between 1818 -1827. The Blossom was involved in extensive surveying of the pacific Islands and extending the British dominion wherever she sailed.  Bolton must have had many adventures and stories to tell.

"HMS Blossom (1806)" by William Smyth (1800-1877) - Transferred from en.wikipedia
to Commons. (15 August 2009 (original upload date)) Original uploader was Shem1805 
at en.wikipedia(Original text: National Maritime Museum online collections). Licensed under
 Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HMS_Blossom_
(1806).jpg#/media/File:HMS_Blossom_(1806).jpg
His last ship was the HMS Thetis, a 46 gun 5th rate Frigate. He joined the ship in 1827 in a senior position and served aboard her until August 1830 at which point he got an appointment ashore at Waterford.  He was fortunate. 4 months later on the 4th of December the Thetis was wrecked at Cape Frio on the South American Coast. The wreck was a major embarrassment to the Navy and both the captain and master faced a naval tribunal due to miscalculating the ships position. The ship was only a day out of Rio when she drifted ashore. She was later lost with 25 souls, (although 275 men and boys survived) but it was the cargo that was the biggest talking point. She was carrying gold bullion and coinage estimated at the then value of $810,000, collected from taxes and trade.

Meanwhile Captain Bolton was most probably looking forward to a Christmas ashore, in his new position of Inspecting Commander of the Coast guard at Waterford. He served two terms and following his marriage in 1839 to Ann, only child of William Kearney of Waterford they settled into civilian life, spending some of it at least at Ballinlaw, above Cheekpoint on the River Barrow.

He died on May 30th 1852, having seen most of the world, despite the fact that he didn't have a TV or the Internet. He was buried in old Faithlegg Church with his father.




I took all of the information about his Naval career from the following naval biography and a further piece here. For more on Henry Bolton see Julian Walton's On This Day, Vol II.  published in 2014 pp152-53.

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.

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and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
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Friday, 12 May 2017

Waterford to New Ross by paddle steamer 1842

I recently had some American and English visitors on a tour of the village.  I found it interesting to hear their thoughts on the area and I always get as much from their perspectives and questions as I ever give.  In the same way the perspective of others from years back can be very illustrative and informative about our country or our locality.  I have used the travels of Arthur Young before to illustrate what life was like in Faithlegg and Cheekpoint in the late 18th C. But today we have a German visitor, JG Kohl, who traveled from Waterford to New Ross on a paddle steamer whilst touring Ireland in the autumn of 1842.  

Waterford possesses two prominent features which are of the greatest advantage to its trade: first, one of the most wonderful quays in the world; and, secondly, one of the finest harbours in Ireland. The quay is a mile long, and so broad and convenient withal, that it must be invaluable to merchants and mariners. It is skirted by a row of elegant houses; and the scenery on the opposite side of the river, which is here a mile and a half wide, is extremely picturesque.
Waterford later in the century, but highlighting how busy it was
The embouchure of the river Suir, which forms the harbour, is wide and deep, without islands or sandbanks, and affords all possible security and convenience to ships. I have already said that Waterford harbour has a great similarity to the bay of Cove, near Cork. Cleaving the land in a similar manner, it runs from the sea, taking with it the sea water, for ten or fifteen miles into the country. At its upper end it divides into two branches, one of which runs west, and the other northwards, while at New Ross it receives the Barrow and the Nore. All this extent of land and water, as far as Waterford and New Ross, and then somewhat farther up the Suir, Barrow, and Nore, is one of the most beautiful and charming districts in Ireland…
By The original uploader was Thyra at German Wikipedia(Original text: unbekannter Künstler) - Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons. Transfer was stated to be made by User:CJLippert.(Original text: [1]), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3006422
…when I came to the river, it was exactly low water. Several vessels were lying on their sides in the mud, as if stranded. Above the beautiful bridge, the Suir seemed almost entirely drained, and the banks were slimy and muddy. But as the tide rolled in, the sand-banks were covered, the ships righted themselves and danced upon the waves, the artery of the river was filled, and the landscape again reflected in its restored mirror. The sun mounted high in the heavens, and our steamboat, The Repealer, rushed forth through the waves. What is there to be found in Ireland that has not some connexion with repeal? I was informed that the repealers go almost exclusively by this boat, and hence it was also called the People's Steamer. On the flag which waved from the quarter-deck were the words, ‘Hurrah for the Repeal of the Union!’ O'Connell can now, at his meetings, truly boast that the repeal cause is progressing with the rapidity of steam. In this corner of the earth, indeed, steam does not go very far—only to the town of New Ross, fifteen miles distant, whither we were bound. Nor does it afford any exclusive advantage to the repealers, as the anti-repealers also employ steam in their cause. Another steamboat, bound to the same place, splashed alongside of us, in opposition to ours. In England one never gets rid of this opposition: it follows him every where.

Had I not been in Scotland, and sailed down the Firth" of Clyde, I would pronounce this trip on the arms of Waterford Harbour to be the finest in the United Kingdom. Or, were there not much that is beautiful out of the United Kingdom, I could also say that it is the most delightful journey I ever made in my life. But it is sufficient to affirm that the landscape on the shores of these waters is as picturesque, pleasing, and diversified in its kind as any other in the world. The waters flow through the deep and convenient bays somewhat more quickly than through a lake; and as its entrance from the sea is concealed from the spectator by a very sudden turn, he actually believes he is on an inland-lake, and is astonished at the large ships which ascend it, seeking harbours hidden far in the heart of the land. At times the shore is a hill, sloping down to the water, which, like almost every river-bank in the United Kingdom, is studded with charming seats and pleasure-grounds; at others, it juts out in steep, rocky, and wooded headlands, which the Repealer almost grazes as she speeds past.
An example of the paddle steamer trade, PS IDA
Via Andy Kelly
At no great distance below United Kingdom are seen, in the background of a bay, the immense ruins of the far-famed Abbey of Dunbrody, one of the most celebrated and beautiful ruins of Ireland, which are here held in about the same estimation as the ruins of Melrose are in Scotland. Alas! they are now, like the times of their grandeur, in the far distance; and the Repealer has too much to do with the opposition steamer, which is walking close upon her heels, and forces her to keep her straightforward way, to turn from her course, and give the traveller a look at the ruined abbey. In truth, it afforded us no little amusement to see our rival, as she was about to turn into the mouth of the Barrow, run aground on a sand-bank, where, as our captain drily observed, she must stick till the tide would rise somewhat higher, and float her off. As for the Repealer, being obliged to be at New Ross by a certain time, she soon left Dunbrody far behind, and splashed away with the flowing tide up the Barrow. The British Islands must reap important benefits from the double alternating currents, one landwards, the other seawards, of the navigable rivers. In no other country do the waters of the sea flow so far inland, bearing ships into the very heart of the country.
Kohl's view of the meeting of the three sister rivers,
without the Barrow railway viaduct
On the deck of an Irish steamer there is seldom a want of entertainment. On the quarter-deck the company is twice as talkative as on that of an English steamer; and the forecastle resounds even with music and singing. To the music, which, of course, was that of the bagpipes, we had dancing. Since Paddy, as I have before remarked, generally uses only an old door, or a couple of boards laid close together, for a dancing-floor, he naturally finds it impossible to leave unoccupied the beautiful space which, on the deck of a steamer, remains vacant, between butter-firkins, flour-bags, egg-boxes, hen-coops, baskets of turkeys, tied-up cows, and a confused heap of grunting pigs. He therefore lays aside his stick, and throws his cares and his sorrows to the winds, with much greater ease than can be done by the rich man of five thousand a year who is looking at him; with good-humour in his face, he seizes a struggling maiden, and, in a merry and lively jig, or Scottish reel, he shakes his rags as if they were the bell-tipped lappets of a fool's dress. The splashing paddles of the steamer beat the time for him, and the lovely banks of the Barrow give to this spectacle a decoration which the ballet-dancers on the boards of Covent-garden or Drury-lane cannot boast of.

The evening was wondrously calm, and even the fishes, though still poorer than Paddy, jumped in the water for joy. I planted myself beside the captain, on the high platform in the centre of the vessel, and, while I observed the grave and serious rich on the quarter-deck, and the merry poor in the forecastle, I could not refrain from praising the justice of God, who, while he makes man poor, at the same time renders him more capable of taking delight in the most trifling things.

The beautiful seats of the Powers, the Asmonds, and other families which lay along the banks, are all so charming that one would like to take a sketch of each separately. Near Castle Ennis, in a broad beautiful meadow, stands the largest, most lordly, and picturesque oak I ever saw. One looks on these mansions with increased interest, if, as I had, he has an Irish priest as confessant at his side, who, from being intrusted with the private affairs of the families that reside in them, can give him a sketch of the history of each. While I listened to my priestly confessant, I was somewhat amazed at the extra-ordinary things which happen in the usual every-day life of these families. In one of these mansions there yet dwells an old lady, the widow of one of the most distinguished of those rebels who were beheaded by the English during the last rebellion in Ireland.

As we passed a rock, our cannon were fired, in memory of a sailor, who, some months previously, had fallen overboard at this spot, and was drowned. The reports were re-echoed from the rock, and the manes of the dead were no doubt highly gratified by the honour thus conferred upon them.
New Ross 1832, a few years before his visit
Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16131871
We anchored at New Ross, and as this place is the extreme end of the Barrow navigation, and the brightest gem in the entire landscape-gallery of the neighbourhood, it would no doubt have well repaid us to pass this delightful evening here. It is at once apparent that New Ross is an old town, since it does not present that picturesque grouping which is peculiar to new regular towns: at the same time it is also a fallen place, for it is said once to have possessed a great part of the trade which Waterford has now entirely drawn to itself. It no longer dispatches a single ship to sea, and merely sends agricultural produce to Waterford, to be from thence exported. Beyond New Ross the waters, which had hitherto been broad and deep, seem entirely to lose themselves in a thicket of woods and rocks. In this thicket there are said to be most beautiful scenery, splendid landscapes, and waterfalls. Yet it was not granted me to explore these beauties any further. As I found my travelling companion disposed to avail himself of the beautiful moonlight night to continue his journey, at eleven o'clock we troubled an Irish horse and a little jaunting-car to take us over to Wexford, about twenty miles distant.


Johann Georg Kohl (1808-1878) was a German scholar, cartographer and geographer, who visited Ireland in 1842. His intention was to see it "without any object in view other than to become acquainted with the country, and to see everything that was interesting and remarkable in it" He was a native of Bremen, and he studied and traveled widely and was noted for his unbiased perspective.  As such his views on Waterford and the harbour should be seen and judged in this light. A man after my own heart, you might say!

I'm only speculating that the Repealer was a paddle steamer, but most ships involved in the Waterford New Ross or Waterford Duncannon ferry trade were to my knowledge.  I had not heard of the Repealer before but an online thread suggests she was brought in as a rival to challenge the Waterford New Ross Steam navigation company but only lasted some months.

Extracts taken from J. G. Kohl, Travels in Ireland, translated from the German, (London 1844)
You can read the entire book here

Thanks to Frank Murphy for his kind assistance.

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 May 2017

Lusitania - the Passage East connection

May 7th will mark the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.  But did you know there was a link to the sinking and Passage East in Co Waterford? Well, if you didn't that makes two of us.

I got a call last year from the cousin, who had heard that there was a life ring from the stricken vessel in the Merseyside Maritime Museum of Liverpool.  No surprise that, but what was, it's on loan from a person originally from Passage East. We were both curious to know the back story.

The Lusitania began construction in 1903 at John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow and had her maiden voyage in 1907 for the Cunard line.  She was built with the intention of being the fastest liner afloat, and she earned the nickname "Greyhound of the Seas" with an average speed across the Atlantic of 24 knots.
Lusitania under way accessed from:
http://prints.rmg.co.uk/art/517164/rms-lusitania-1906-under-way 
On the 1st May 1915, she departed New York bound for Liverpool. It was her 101st voyage. The threat of U Boat attack had reduced her passenger list, but there were still some 1,959 souls aboard, including 702 crew. On the morning of 7th May, the ship approached the Irish coast. At 14:10 a torpedo fired by the German submarine U 20 slammed into her side, the ship being at that point off the Old Head of Kinsale in Co Cork. A mysterious second explosion ripped the liner apart. The ship listed so badly and quickly that lifeboats crashed into passengers crowded on deck, or tipped out those passengers who had managed to get aboard. Within 18 minutes the giant ship slipped beneath the sea. 1,119 souls perished. That number was estimated to include 140 Irish, 70 passengers and 70 crew.

A massive rescue operation got under way from the Cork coastal area and was controlled from Cobh, or Queenstown as it was then called. Scenes of utter devastation followed as men, women and children were laid out on the quayside for identification and spouses or parents rushed between the corpses in the hope or perhaps fear, of identifying a missing loved one.
Coffins being removed.  Mass graves were needed to inter the remains at Cobh
Accessed from: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/lusitania-survivors-
gave-cobh-an-eerie-unreality-327139.html
And the connection to Passage East.  Well from what I learned, a fish merchant who resided in the village named Arthur Miller had taken the trip to Cork to meet skippers of fishing craft in the hope of extending his business and negotiating the rights to buy and export their catches.  Miller who was previously an agent for the Billingsgate fish market in London had come and settled in Passage East. He had set up his own business, which at the time was thriving and was exporting vast quantities of herring and kippers and other types of fish.  

As he waited on the quay at Kinsale, to meet the skippers, the fishing boats returned, but instead of fish, they carried a human cargo, those lucky enough to have been plucked alive from the Atlantic, and I'm sure many others who had not survived.  Going home to Passage that evening he brought a life ring from the vessel, which would later hang in his office in Passage until his business closed. The life ring is now at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, displayed as part of their Lusitania: Life, Loss, Legacy exhibition. 

Photo accessed from the Merseyside Maritime Museum
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 connect with me to receive the blog every week.  Simply email me to request to be added to my email list at russianside@gmail.com.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Jack Meades heritage ramble

Jack Meades pub and restaurant has got to be one of the more remarkable and intriguing 18th Century agricultural sites in the country.  As a young man I hadn't much time for the older men who drank there, preferring to spend my time having the craic and the beer with my own generation. But at my present age, and with my interest in our local heritage, I often rue the opportunities I would have had to ask the older people about the buildings that litter the area, all within a stones throw of the pub.
  
The pub itself is fascinating, dating as it has since 1705. I've written about its landlords and the lineage of the present owners before. You've got to have respect for those who have managed to sustain and transform a business in the countryside when so much has changed in our attitudes as a country to drinking and driving. Part of that business is to protect and allow access to a varied amount of heritage related buildings which we went along to see on our most recent free bank holiday Monday rambles.
Standing outside the main door to the pub
Photo Michael Farrell
The pub of course is synonymous with its location beside the old Railway bridge of the Malcomsons, in their attempt to run a rail line between the city and Passage East.  It earns the pub the distinction of Ireland's only fly over bridge.  But of course it has a number of bridges on the site, as at least one, and perhaps two others allow the Ballycanvan stream to flow under the Cheekpoint Road that itself passes under the main structure.
The Bridge and pub looking towards Cheekpoint
Photo Michael Farrell
Across the road we stood beside the old Delehunty corn mill and discussed its amazing design features including an overshot wheel within the building and the man made leat that runs from Brook Lodge, from where the water to run the mill was released via a man made pond.  It was wonderful to have a relation of the Delehuntys that ran the mill all those years ago present, but sad too as he reminded us of the tragedy at the pond when his relation and two young companions drowned while swimming there.
I need to tie my hands to my body I'm afraid!
At least I wasn't waving a stick this time.
Delehuntys Mill Photo by John O' Sullivan
The Ice House of course is an impressive structure, which I have also discussed before.  We looked at its design, the supply of ice and the likely purpose it was put to. Then it was along to the Lime Kilns down the Pill, and a discussion about the process of lime burning, how the lime stone was brought and the likely uses of the finished product.  I got a surprised reaction from many when I related how the lime was used to treat the waste from a dry toilet, something I had seen myself at my grans in the 1980's. Just as well Carmel, a relation from England, didn't mention to all but myself and a few within earshot of how it was used over corpses, particularly in times of plague.

The Ice House above and one of the double Lime Kilns on the site
Photo Michael Farrell
We then discussed the old salt water mill that resides on private lands down towards the mouth of the Pill, and how in the past, in a way similar to the monks at Dunbrody, the incoming tide was retained behind sluice gates only to be released when the tide below the mill was lower and gravity allowed the mill wheel to be turned by the water returning to its source.

We rambled up to look back on Ballymaclode Castle and discuss her twin tower at Ballycanvan that later became a fine Georgian mansion of the same name.  And returning to the pub we passed off Redmonds forge where in the past not along horses were shod, but implements of farm works and fishermen were repaired or made.

The walk was recorded for posterity by Paul from Waterford in your Pocket, and it gives a real sense of the day and the walk.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rGIQ1KYaKI

Our next event will be the June Bank Holiday Monday, commencing at 11am at Faithlegg House Hotel and will look at the history surrounding the Faithlegg estate. I'm only hoping the spirit and enthusiasm of those who came yesterday is repeated. Delighted to see familiar faces, and great to meet many new ones too. Young and old seemed to enjoy it, and the questions and the comments were all helpful in my own learning. A young lad from sixth class in Faithlegg was at my side through the walk, and he has an obvious eye for his local heritage. For Facebook users we have an event page here which we will use to keep people updated on the Faithlegg heritage ramble .


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