Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Friday, January 19, 2018

Lecture: Niall Byrne's contribution to forging medieval Waterford's historical identity

Niall Byrne's contribution to forging medieval Waterford's historical identity

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society’s lecture season for 2017 and 2018 continues on Friday 26th January with a lecture by Waterford-born historian and author Michael Byrne.

Niall Byrne (1934-2012) practiced as a veterinary surgeon in Waterford and South Kilkenny in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. In the early years of his retirement he returned to academic study, taking an undergraduate degree in theology as well as a Master's degree and doctorate in history from UCC.  He then published four books of original scholarship about medieval Waterford.  His major contribution was to translate, annotate and provide a commentary on "The Great Parchment Book of Waterford", a history of the city compiled from original records between the mid-fifteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries.  Niall also wrote a history of the Knights Templar and other religious orders in the south-east of Ireland; a history of Waterford's medieval leper hospital and the later County and City Infirmary; and an account of a chantry chapel built in Waterford Cathedral in the 1470s.  In this lecture Niall's son, Michael Byrne, will summarise the work done by his father in these four books and will outline their enduring importance in forging Waterford's historical identity.

Michael Byrne was born in Waterford in 1959 and has lived in London for the last thirty years.  A former accountant, banker, and managing partner of a number of headhunting companies, he now works in the voluntary sector on a number of environmental and other projects.  He studied at Trinity College Dublin and also holds Master's degrees from London and Cambridge universities and a PhD in history from London.  A fellow of Birkbeck College London and a former magistrate and university governor, Michael Byrne has published four books of history and historical biography.

This lecture will be of interest to anyone interested in Waterford’s medieval history and historiography. Admission to the lecture is €5 (students €2.50), but is free for members of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WA&HS Submission on proposed demolition of the former R&H Hall Grain Store, Dock Road, Ferrybank, Waterford

Re: Proposed demolition of the former R & H Hall Grain Store, Dock Road, Ferrybank, Waterford.

To Whom It May Concern:

While welcoming wholeheartedly the prospect of the development of the North Quays the committee of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society (WAHS) wish to convey their concern regarding the proposed demolition of the former R & H Hall Grain Store (The Hennebique Building).

The committee is of the firm opinion that the building forms a unique part of the city's built heritage. The R & H Hall Grain Store has been included in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. It has been attributed a rating value of ‘National Importance’.  The building itself is the last remaining tangible link to a site which was part of the thriving maritime history of Waterford. White’s shipyard, grain stores, a water powered mill and a box factory occupied this site in the 19th century.

 While recognising that the building presents considerable conservation challenges a number of uses in the arts and cultural area could be explored. Possible uses could include a maritime museum, an industrial museum, archive and exhibition space. These uses would reflect the city's unique maritime  and industrial past. The retention of the building itself would form a visible testament to that heritage.

The floor to ceiling height in the building has been cited as a considerable disadvantage. The floor to ceiling height is 2650mm, except for the top floor where it is 3800mm. The old Bond Store in the Tullamore Distillery has a floor to ceiling height of 2000mm and operates as an attractive and successful visitor centre. Many such buildings around the world have been successfully preserved and given a new life. The committee feels that the previous conservation work, done by the City Council, on the old granery store on the Quay and its conversion into what is now the Architectural Department of the WIT could be a model for the conservation of the Hennebique Building. A further example of an imaginative conservation of the Hennibique Building is contained in the submission by Rojo-Studio Architects in 2015 (

The committee would like to draw your attention to aspects of the Waterford City Development Plan 2013-2019 which it feels should inform the ultimate decision on the fate of the building. Section 10.2 of the Plan outlines the policies to be followed in respect of Architectural Heritage.
The following is stated on page 141: '... it is considered essential that every possible tool be used to encourage re-investment in the existing building stock. In this context fiscal instruments will be used wherever possible and the wider context will be considered at all times in the assessment of proposals for redevelopment and greater flexibility in adaptation of existing stock will be allowed, where this is feasible.'

Page 142 outlines the following as an objective of the Development Plan: 'In considering development which may have a significant impact on the architectural heritage to require the preparation and submission of an architectural heritage impact assessment detailing the potential impact of the development on the architectural heritage. The report shall be compiled generally in accordance with the details set out in Appendix B of the
Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities,
Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, 2004. (OBJ 10.2.5)'. Has an architectural heritage impact asessment been carried out?

The committee of WAHS submit that the Hennebique Building is unique and rather than being demolished it should be preserved, conserved and re-used in an imaginative and sensitive way.
Yours sincerely

Adrian Larkin, Chairman WAHS
4 Bromley Avenue, Ardkeen Village, Waterford.  
January 15th 2018

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Proposed Demolition of the former R & H Hall Grain Store, Dock Road, Ferrybank, Waterford.

RE. Proposed Demolition of the former R & H Hall Grain Store, Dock Road, Ferrybank, Waterford.

To whom it may concern,

As a Waterford person, I am delighted at the prospect of the development of the North Quays. As somebody who worked on the R & H Hall\Waterford Flour Mills site for twenty years, and as a member of Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society, I was delighted to see, that part of the North Quays Master Plan was the preservation of the Hennebique Warehouse.
This building is the last remaining tangible link to a site which was part of the thriving maritime history of Waterford. Grain stores, a water powered flour mill and a box factory occupied this site in the 19th century, an ancient ferry operated from the site to the city.
However, I am now puzzled as to why the Council, who state in the Master Plan that the building will be considered in any future development, now brings forward a plan to demolish it. The latter seems contrary to all the aspirations/policies in the draft Master Plan.
I believe that the thrust of a recent engineers report to the Council is that too much physical compromise would be needed to enable its adaptive reuse. He does not actually discuss how it might be reused, merely stating that "it is difficult to see what future use the building could serve”, I disagree.
The North Quays Master Plan aspires to the provision of a visitor centre, exhibition space and other cultural amenities. I see no reason why The Hennebique Warehouse couldn't be adapted to these and other uses. Here are some examples:
  • Maritime museum (In a city with such a maritime heritage, there have been many calls for a Maritime Museum, the major obstacle was to find a location, here is a readymade and most appropriate location)
  • Industrial Museum.
  • Gallery\Exhibition Centre.
  • Visitor Centre.
With a nine storey building it would be possible to have a combination of some, if not all, of the above.
The floor to ceiling height has been cited as a disadvantage, again, I disagree. The floor to ceiling height is 2650mm, except the top floor, where it is 3800mm! On a recent visit to Tullamore in County Offaly, I paid a visit to the Tullamore DEW experience, where the old Bond Store is now a very attractive and successful visitor centre, the floor to ceiling height in the reception area and gift shop is 2000mm (See attached photograph).

Many such buildings around the world have been preserved and given new life, just one example of what could be done with the Hennebique Warehouse is the concept produced by Rojo – Studio Architects in 2015 (See link : )
In 1998 extensive renovations were carried out on the late 19th Century Granary building on the corner of Merchants Quay and Hanover Street. I worked in this building in the 1970s when it was used as a grain store by R & H Hall. The original entrances to the building from the Quay and Hanover Street were widened and raised to accommodate modern transport. With large timber sliding doors,  RSJ heads and concreate surrounds, the entrances were functional but made the building look so ugly. Eventually the building ceased to be used as a grain store and by 1998 was derelict. The 1998 renovations included reversing the damage done to the entrances and restoring the tooled limestone doorcases and restoring all the surrounding stonework, this restoration work alone took time and considerable resources. Since its restoration the building has housed Waterford Museum of Treasures and Tourist Office. Today the warehouse is home to the School of Architecture of Waterford Institute of Technology and remains an important landmark in the centre of the City and is an attractive addition to the streetscape of Merchants Quay – what a loss it would have been had this building been demolished!
I appeal to the City Council, please do not demolish the Hennebique Warehouse, rather preserve and cherish this iconic building for future generations. I do not use the word iconic lightly, the Oxford Dictionary defines an Icon as -  
A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration. Whilst the Hennebique Warehouse may not be worthy of veneration, it is most definitely a representative symbol of the history and heritage of this site. Not only is it listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as a building of National importance, it was part of the fabric of a once thriving site which gave employment to people from Ferrybank, the City and surrounding areas, in some cases, to 2 and sometimes 3 generations of the one family and it contributed to the social and economic life of the city for over 100 years.
While the Hennebique Warehouse stands it will be a palpable link to the heritage of the site, the port and indeed, the city.

Yours Sincerely,

Michael Maher,
26 Kenure Court,
12th January 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Information on Gaelic Games players & First World War Sought

Any information on players of Gaelic Games from Waterford who enlisted/died in the First World War?
Anyone with information can contact the Waterford Archaeological & Historical Society via facebook or e-mail <>
The information is for a study concerning the topic.

Lecture Series, January to May 2018

LECTURES and events 2018

Please note all lectures are held at 8pm in St. Patricks Gateway Centre,
Patrick Street, Waterford, unless otherwise stated.
Lectures are free for members, non-members €5.00

Jan. – May 2018

Jan. 26th, 2018
Speaker:  Dr Michael Byrne

Title:  Niall Byrne’s contribution to forging medieval Waterford’s historical identity

In this lecture Dr Niall Byrne’s son will summarise the work done by his father in his four books and outline their enduring importance in forging Waterford’s historical identity.

Feb. 23rd, 2018
Speaker:  Dr Úna Ní Bhroiméil

Title:  Cartoon representations of John Redmond
1906 – 1916

A special lecture marking the centenary of the death of John Redmond, MP for Waterford, in March 1918. Many cartoons of Redmond were published in the Irish-American and British press and they give an insight into how Redmond’s political leadership was perceived, in both positive and a negative light.

Mar. 23rd, 2018
Speaker:  Mr John Martin

Title:  The development of Dungarvan c. 1200 – 1900

The lecture will focus on the development of Dungarvan, as an urban centre, from its foundation by the Anglo-Normans to the end of the 19th century.

Apr. 27th, 2018
Speaker:  Ms Joanne Hughes

Title:  Recent excavation at Arundel Square, Waterford

Ms Hughes directed archaeological excavations in 2017 in advance of construction of an extension to City Square shopping centre. The excavations, on the site which fronted onto Arundel Sq., led to the discovery of evidence for medieval and post-medieval urban activity.

May 25th, 2018
Speaker:  Mr. Damian Shiels

Title:  Waterford connections to the American Civil War

Waterford people are well aware of Thomas Francis Meagher’s involvement in the American Civil War, however, he was one of only many Waterford people who participated in or whose families were touched by this bloody conflict. Mr Shiels’ research has revealed the impact the war had on Irish participants and their relatives.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Dunhill Lecture Series 2018

                                                             Series XII, 2018

The series will run for ten weeks, every Thursday from 11 January to 15 March, starting at 8pm.

11 Jan              Julian Walton: Despicable jackals, gallant submariners, and Waterford in the World War I U-boat campaign

18 Jan              Kieran Walsh: From war to wine, from shipping to sport: Irish-French links over 300 years

25 Jan              Tony Hennessy: “My Ancestor was sent to Jail - Hooray!”  The Petty Sessions Court and prison records as genealogical sources

1 Feb               Una Kealy: The life and work of Waterford dramatist Teresa Deevy

8 Feb               Joan Johnson: Waterford’s Quaker Heritage

15 Feb             Eugene Broderick: Noel Browne, Minister for Health 1948-1951

22 Feb             Pat McCarthy: William Jasper McSweeney, the Waterpark boy who established the Irish Air Corps

1 March           Julian Walton: Lions in the bedroom, painting the town red, and the rake reformed: Henry, third Marquess of Waterford, 1811-1859

8 March           Julian Walton: Louisa Marchioness of Waterford: a bicentenary assessment, 1818-2018

15 March         Roy Dooney: The building of Dunmore Harbour     

Lectures are held at Dunhill Multi-Education Centre (opposite the GAA grounds). 

Starting at 8 p.m., each lecture lasts about an hour and is followed by a question & answer session and light refreshments.
The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society, Ireland.
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