Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WAHS Annual Lunch - 2011

The Society's Annual Lunch took place in Dooley's Hotel, over 70 members and friends attended the lunch, which was a great success thanks to the efforts of the management and staff of the Hotel. Guests of honour were Deputy Mayor, Cllr Hilary Quinlan, who was presented with the latest edition of Decies, as well as City Manager Michael Walsh, and, representing the county, County Archivist Joanne Rothwell. The guest speaker was Kristin Jameson, who gave an illustrated talk on Tourin House and Gardens, focusing on the rare and old specimen trees one can see in the gardens, and on their origins.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Lecture: Mr William Fraher

The lecture on Friday night was very successful and drew a large audience, as Mr William Fraher gave a talk on the impact of the Civil War on the Big Houses of County Waterford. 

Hon Editor, Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin presented Mr Fraher with a copy of the latest edition of Decies.
Included in the picture, l-to-r: Mr Julian Walton, Mr William Fraher, Mr Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin, Mr Michael Maher. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just published: Decies 67

Decies ,the Journal of the Society, has just been published and will be available to members at the Annual Lunch on Sunday 27 November.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From Our Neighbour: South Kilkenny Historical Society :Lecture on Knockroe Passage Tomb

South Kilkenny Historical Society Lecture

Title: Knockroe passage tomb and the mysterious Stone Age of south Kilkenny

Speaker: Muiris O’Suilleabhan, Associate Professor, School of Archaeology, U.C.D.

Date: Thursday, November 24th

Time: 8pm

Venue: Mullinavat parish hall (opposite church).

Admission: €5 (members free)

Knockroe passage tomb, known locally as “The Caiseal”, is situated beside the Lingaun river at the south-western edge of County Kilkenny and is considered an archaeological site of national importance. Prior to the 1980s little was known about the site but in recent years it has come further into the limelight with a programme of excavation between 1990-1995, by the speaker (Dr O Suilleabhan).

Friday, November 18, 2011

November lecture: The War Of Independence And The Big Houses

Our next lecture will be delivered by Mr William Fraher, Curator of Waterford County Museum in Dungarvan. William has often lectured to the Society and has led a number of our summer field trips.

The topic of this month's lecture, 'The Bad Times': The War of Independence and the Big Houses in Co Waterford promises to be a fascinating one, indeed, as William's sources are unpublished original manuscripts and letters as well as newspapers and witness statements. 

Should you be in Dungarvan, don't miss the current exhibition on The Big Houses in the Museum, which can only add to the experience of the lecture. 

Date: 25 November 2011

Time: 8.00 pm

Venue: Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, Barrack Street, Waterford

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pat McCarthy's Lecture: Gun Running in Waterford

On 26 October last Dr Pat McCarthy, well-known military historian and member of the Society, delivered a lecture on the successful IRA gun running operation through Waterford Harbour in 1921.
Sourced in Germany, a large consignment of weapons (rifles, pistols ) and ammunition was shipped on board the Frieda, a small vessel which sailed up the harbour. The consignment was successfully unloaded and moved inland. 
This was probably the most significant importation of arms in Ireland since 1913. Although the weapons arrived in Ireland after the Truce, the episode was considered an important morale booster for the IRA asIrish representatives prepared to enter treaty negotiations with the British government.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October Lecture: Gun Running in Waterford

Dr Pat McCarthy returns on October 28th with another military-themed topic, Gun Running in Waterford. Pat is well known to our members, being a regular contributor to Decies on such diverse topics as T.F.Meagher, the rise of Sinn Féin or Captain Clooney's career in the Papal army. He has also led some of our summer outings, the latest being to the site of the Battle of the Boyne last June. Pat is Correspondence Secretary of the Military Society of Ireland.

Venue: Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, Barrack Street.

Time: 8 pm

Price: Members: free
         Non-members: €5.00

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September Lecture: Recent Excavations in the Viking Triangle, by Órla Scully

Our first lecture in the Edmund Rice Conference Centre attracted interest, and those present on the night were the first to see the finds of the Viking Triangle. Órla recounted for us the work done by the archaeologists and explained the process involved in monitoring the digs, the survey, during, before, and after. Hard work, dangerous situations, puzzles solved, questions raised, and 'Indiana Jones moments'...

Starting on the surface, the great concentration of pottery and 18th / 19th century paraphernalia discovered showed the importance of the area in those days.
A well was found, which will remain as a feature at the back of  City Hall. There were pits, showing evidence of metalworking, the dating of some of the layers - 898 to 920 AD - possibly linking the activity on this site to the Woodstown site. High quality medieval pottery, highly decorated rims of jugs, 10th century ring pins, all the findings implying this was a high status area. Many little walls -like little units, squared up, ran at the back of the Theatre.

While working inside the Bishop's Palace, a digger dislodged a stone, revealing an opening in the ground. A camera lowered into the hole brought back pictures of  a medieval undercroft, used as a wine cellar for the Palace, and some bottles.... empty and/or broken!

A section of the medieval cathedral, beneath Christchurch Cathedral, was also uncovered.

We were made aware of some of the steps involved in the conservation process, and problems encountered when trying to reconstruct parts of a building, in this case windows.

With the excavations over, the building work for the new medieval museum is now well under way, and we are looking forward to its opening in 2012.

Monday, September 26, 2011

From our neighbour: South Kilkenny Historical Society

South Kilkenny Historical Society  


Date: Thursday, September 29th

Topic: The Ormonde Slate Quarries - 1820 to 1838

Speaker: Mr Richard Hyland

Venue: Mullinavat Parish Hall (opposite church)

Time: 8pm

Admission: €5 (society members free).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Lecture: Recent Excavations in the Viking Triangle

The first of our Autumn/Winter season's lectures will be delivered by Ms Orla Scully MA on Friday 23 September 2011 at the usual time of 8.00 pm on the recent excavations in the Viking Triangle in Waterford City.

PLease note that our lectures have moved to Edmund Rice Heritage Centre, Barrack Street.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Venue for Winter/Spring Lectures

With Waterford Treasures having moved out of the Granary, we had to find alternative accommodation for our lectures. We are delighted to announce that all winter/spring lectures will be held in Edmund Rice International Heritage Centre in Barrack Street, Waterford City.
 There is ample parking in the centre's carpark, entrance via Convent Hill. The state-of-the-art comfortable lecture rooms offer all modern technology.

We are looking forward to the new season, starting on Friday 23 September, with Ms Orla Scully, MA, who will lecture on the recent excavations within the Viking Triangle in the city centre. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heritage Week Activities at the Bishop's Palace

Illustrated free talks @ the

Bishop’s Palace

(to book in: 051 - 849650)

Monday 22, 1.15-1.45pm (then going on to 2.15)

‘Irish 18th century furniture’ - George Williams

Tuesday 23, 1.15-1.45pm

John Redmond’ - Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin

Wednesday 24, 4-5pm

Being a child in 18th century Waterford

(workshop, 8years+, booking essential) - Rosemary Ryan

Wednesday 24, 8-9.15pm

‘Superb 18th century fireplaces: the genius of the Irish craftsman’ - Patrick Pilkington

Thursday 25, 1.15-1.45pm

‘Waterford and World War I’ - Gordon Power

Friday 26, 1.15-1.45pm

I found bricks, I left marble, Thomas Milles, bishop of Waterford 1708-1740’ – Julian Walton

Sunday 28 All Day – FREE ADMISSION

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Last Outing of 2011: Dunhill Castle & Graveyard

On Thursday last, more than 20 members and friends gathered at the bridge on the Anne river to meet up with Julian Walton. Little did we know that far from being a stroll in the park, it would turn out to be a rock climbing experience!
We did make it to the top however, and tried to imagine the castle in its heydays, when the Anne river was fully navigable, and later in less favorable times, when it was besieged by Cromwellian soldiers.

We discovered a small medieval graveyard and parish church, the whole staircase of the church having collapsed spectacularly in one block.
For more pictures, visit our Facebook page

Monday, July 25, 2011

Last outing the summer - Dunhill Castle

On Thursday 28 July we will be visiting Dunhill Castle with Julian Walton as our guide. The meeting point is near the bridge over the Anne river, at the foot of the castle. Time: at 7.15 pm.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Outing to the Hook Peninsula: In the Templars' footsteps

Ben Murtagh, our guide for the afternoon, was waiting in the village of Ballyhack. Following his instructions, we drove to Fethard-on-Sea, and stopped at the castle and the church of Saint-Mogue. We were privileged to enter the castle, and discover the trap-door of the castle's dungeon...

We drove on to Slade, an important fishing port in medieval times. We saw Slade castle, once owned by the Laffan family. The tower, the main building and the ruins of its 18th-century saltworks are still visible.

Then to the Hook Lighthouse, where we were met by one of the lighthouse guides, Liam. What made this visit unique was the fact that while Liam gave us the history of the tower, Ben gave us his own insight and memories of working on the building, as an archaeologist.

Then on to St Dubhan church, 'the most southerly church in Ireland' in its time. Now in ruins, however the graveyard is still in use, local families have kept their burial rights since the 12th century.
Our last stop on the way home was Templetown church. The lands were owned by the Templars, but in the early 14th century they were handed over to the Hospitallers. A tombstone with a lamb, symbol of the Templars, can be seen in the graveyard.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Upcoming event: Outing to the Hook Peninsula

On Sunday 10th July: Ben Murtagh will be our guide for this tour of the Hook Peninsula, included will be a guided tour of Fethard Castle, Churchtown Church, and Hook Lighthouse.

The meeting point is Ballyhack, Co Wexford, at 2.30 pm.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Revival of the Coach Trip - Outing to the Boyne Valley

Over 40 members and friends were on the coach to the Boyne Valley on Sunday last, 19 June. Vice-chairman Eddie Sinnott remembered that 12 years previously as chairman he had to announce that the coach trip had to be abandoned, and it was his great pleasure to launch the revival of the all-day outing.We stopped at An Poitín Stil, Rathcoole, for tea and scones and other members joined us there, including Dr Pat McCarthy, expert in Military History.

En route to Brú na Bóinne we stopped briefly at a site where troops had been posted during the battle, unfortunately it was not possible to step out.
At the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, a short film gave a brief outline of the meaning of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. We had a look at the exhibits then took the shuttle bus to the site.

The guide was excellent and explained the complex history of the area and the structure of the passage tombs. He pointed out the various examples of megalithic(=giant stone) art (one-third of the megalithic art in Western Europe is contained there), it seems that the serpentiform (snake-like) motif is uncommon.

He showed us a reconstructed wood henge (timber circle) (as opposed to stone henge), told us about the artefacts found on site, and the possible interpretations of the ceremonies and rituals which took place so long ago. We then followed him inside the largest tomb, and got a 'flavour' of being inside...

Outside, we saw the outline of the ruins of a 12th century structure, and climbed to the top of the tomb to enjoy the view of the valley, with the Hill of Tara on the horizon.

Back on the bus, to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre. After a quick snack, we had a most interesting guided tour of the museum and watched an audiovisual presentation of the battle.

A few minutes later, we were through our mind's eye and with the help of Pat McCarthy, at the heart of the action, picturing on the horizon the troops from either sides converging on the battlefield.

We went back to An Poitín Stil for an excellent dinner before heading home.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Publication : The Grand Tour Correspondence of Richard Pococke & Jeremiah Milles

The book is edited by Dr. Rachel Finnegan, Programme Leader for the MA in Arts & Heritage Management,Waterford Institute of Technology.
It is Volume 1 of the Grand Tour correspondence of Dr. Richard Pococke (then Precentor of Waterford Cathedral and shortly afterwards appointed Vicar General of Waterford & Lismore) and his cousin Jeremiah Milles (shortly to become Treasurer of Lismore Cathedral). Together they toured France & Italy in 1733-34 and wrote a large collection of letters to their relatives, including their mutual uncle, Thomas Milles, Bishop of Waterford & Lismore.

For more information, or to order on-line, please visit

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Our first outing of the summer : Portlaw.

We met at the Heritage Centre, as planned.

After Ger Crotty explained how the centre was established, he proposed to bring us on a tour of the town centre. We walked along the river Clodagh and the canal which was built to bring raw materials to the factory. In the distance, the Presbyterian and the Catholic churches.

We followed Ger Crotty and Willie Power, and tried to picture Portlaw in its glory days,as they pointed out to us landmarks, buildings, details ofarchitecture linked to the development of the factory town.

We visited the Church of the Holy Trinity built in 1851 in the Gothic Revival Style.

Back in the Heritage Centre, Ger and Willie told us more about the more recent past of the town, and we were able to look at various documents on display

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Outings Season Starting Soon

With the stretch in the evenings, we will now be able to enjoy our summer outings - and hope for reasonable weather!

The first outing of the season will be a visit to the Portlaw Heritage Centre on Thursday 2nd June at 7.15 pm, where we'll meet Mr Ger Crotty and Mr Willie Power.

There are still a few places remaining for our coach trip to the Boyne Valley on Sunday 19th June. Anyone interested, please contact PRO Michael Maher 051 87 84 69 for details.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April Lecture: Faction Fighting - Munster Area

The last lecture of the Spring season will be delivered by Mr Michéal O hAodha on the topic Faction Fighting - Munster Area on Friday 29th April 2011. Venue: Waterford Museum of Treasures at the Granary, Hanover Street.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WAHS Committee 2011-2012

The election of the new committee for 2011-2012 took place during the AGM on Thursday 7th April 2011.

The following officers were elected:

Chairman: Fergus Dillon
Vice-Chairman: Eddie Sinnott
Hon. Secretary: Béatrice Payet
Hon Treasurer: Tony Gunning
PRO: Michael Maher
Hon Editor: Donnchadh O Ceallacháin


Ben Murtagh ex officio
Séamus Reale
Erica Fay
Sean Caulfield
Kevin hall
George Kavanagh
Sonny Condon
Jim F. Walsh

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Annual General Meeting - Change of Date

Members please note that the AGM has been postponed to Thursday 7th April 2011. Notices are being sent to all members along with a booking form for the trip to the Boyne Valley for the month of June. Apologies to anyone who didn't get a booking form, this is being rectified straight away by the Hon. Sec.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Lecture: Mr Eddie Synnott on 'The Campile Bombing'

On Friday 25th March 2011, Mr Eddie Synnott, committee member of WAHS and Chairman of the South Kilkenny Historical Society, will lecture on 'The Campile Bombing in 1940: An Accident or Deliberate Bombing in a Neutral Country?'

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saint Patrick's Day and Waterford Connections

In the mid-seventeenth century, the 17 March became a Holiday of Obligation in the Catholic Church. Already celebrated by the Franciscans, Saint Patrick's day was included among the official saints' days by Waterford-born Franciscan Luke Wadding, appointed to the Congregation of the Breviary in Rome.
Wearing of the shamrock and pota Phádraig (drowning the shamrock) were the traditions, and the heavy drinking on that day remained cause for concern through the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There was then a movement to make Saint Patrick's Day a National Holiday, with the implication that all businesses, including public houses, would close for the day. This was adopted in 1903. Here is a letter, in which Waterford Corporation declared that on Saint Patrick's Day, no business would be conducted in the city.
For full article, see Decies 65, pp107-109.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February Lecture: Excavations at the site of Egan's/Penney's

On Friday 25 February 2011, Mr. Dave Pollock will give a talk on the 2009 excavations which took place in Barronstrand Street in the city centre, where the new Penney's store now stands. For those who haven't been there, part of a medieval wall has been retained as a feature in the centre of the store. Check Waterford News & Star's article of April 2009.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If Maps Could Speak, by Richard Kirwan

There will be an evening talk by Waterford Author, Richard Kirwan, entitled: If Maps Could Speak

Venue: Waterford City Hall

Date: Wednesday 16th February at 7pm

Free Admission

If Maps Could Speak was published in late 2010 and is an engaging combination of memoir, history and stories about people and places. In this presentation, Richard Kirwan a former Director of Ordnance Survey Ireland will take the audience behind the scenes into the minds and work of the early map-makers with accounts of their inventions, adventures, endurance and heroism in pre-Famine Ireland...

This free event is for a public audience and is organised as part of Waterford Engineering Week by Calmast at Waterford Institute of Technology in association with Engineers Ireland Southeast Region.

For more details see

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Published: Glassmaking in Ireland - From the Medieval to the Contemporary

Published by Irish Academic Press, Glassmaking in Ireland - From the Medieval to the Contemporary, edited by WAHS member and formerDecies editor, Dr John M Hearne, is described as 'A treasure-trove of fascinating information for the scholar, collector and enthusiast alike'.
This is a comprehensive book on the history of Irish glass-making, dedicated to the memory of Mary Boydell, who was an authority on Irish glass and a co-founder of the Glass Society of Ireland.
From archaeological evidence to results of new research, the importance of glass in art, history, and economy are dealt with in this publication, launched in Dublin by Dr Patrick F Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland on Friday 28 January 2011.

The Waterford launch will take place this coming Friday 4 February 2011 in the Book Centre, Waterford.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Lecture: Bridget Redmond, Keeper Of The Redmondite Flame in Waterford

Our first lecture of 2011 will be delivered by Ms Alice McDermott, Lecturer in History and Cultural Studies at Waterford Institute of Technology.
The subject of her lecture will be Bridget Redmond, TD for Waterford Constituency from 1932-1952, wife of William Redmond and daughter in law of John Redmond.

Monday, January 3, 2011

the Re-enacting Ancient Times Society

Remember our Viking/Templars re-enacting friends in September? They were interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton on Sunday 2nd January 2011. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the link below [it's a 3 hour-long program, move the cursor forward to the 2-hour mark] to hear Bjarni & Richard talk about their passion for live history and their visit to Waterford in September 2010.

Find out more about the Re-enacting Ancient Times Society : all about Live History and learning through fun!!!

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society, Ireland.
Website By: Deise Design