Cumann Seandalaiochta agus Staire Phort Lairge

Monday, November 20, 2023

Upcoming Lecture 24/11/23 : New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Iron Age 'Celtic' Ireland' by Dr Katharina Becker

Our final lecture of the year will take place on Friday 24th November at 8pm in St Patrick's Gateway Center, Patrick Street, Waterford. 


Topic : New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Iron Age 'Celtic' Ireland'.

In this lecture Dr Becker will explore the fundamental changes in our knowledge and interpretation of the archaeology of Ireland's Iron Age past. Until recently the people and communities who lived in Ireland during the Iron Age were solely visible through finds of 'Celtic' Iron Age artefacts. These objects were mostly found in the northern half of the island which led scholars to ponder what sort of society existed in those parts of the country, like Waterford, where these objects were not found. New discoveries, from archaeological excavation and other research, over recent decades now allows us to reconstruct the lifeways of local Iron Age populations across the whole island and to re-visit old questions relating to the cultural and ethnic identity of the people who lived here in this formative period.


Dr Katharina Becker is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology in University College Cork, where she teaches on the Late Bronze Age and Iron Archaeology of Ireland, Britain and Europe. Her research is focused on the archaeology of Later Prehistoric Ireland, about which she has published extensively. Katharina is director of UCC's Higher Diploma in Archaeology, a 1-year conversion degree for anyone who already has an undergraduate degree in another subject and would like to obtain an Archaeology qualification, she is always delighted to chat to potential new students.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Just Published BLAA-THERINGS by Cian Manning



     BLAA-THERINGS is a collection of stories that look at the forgotten, unusual and quirky tales and lives that concern the history of the Gentle County, Waterford.

     From colourful local characters to titans of European and World History, this eclectic assortment of essays is easy reading for those who wish to discover stories about unfamiliar figures in remarkable times during the history of Waterford city and county.

     There's something for everyone, from music and sport to economics and politics. All these tales come with a Deise-view, that transforms blackguarding to blaggarding into BLAA-THERINGS.




‘cogomen of the “untouched”’: WATERFORD & A FOILED-PLOT IN THE 1798 REBELLION














     Available from Amazon at Blaa-therings by Cian Manning

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Upcoming Lecture 20/10/23 : The Lure of the Sea in Georgian Ireland by Dr Vandra Costello

 Dr Vandra Costello, will deliver a talk titled The lure of the sea in Georgian Ireland , how the pursuit of the sublime and the fashion for sea bathing changed the appearance of the coast and the ways in which people engaged with the sea’ to the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society at 8 pm on Friday, October 20th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91 YX61).


From the mid-eighteenth-century seaside resorts began to develop in Ireland and the practice of sea bathing was first popularised. In her lecture, Vandra Costello will explore notions of the therapeutic benefits of sea air which led the aristocracy to build or reorientate houses to give views of, and access to, the sea with resulting effects on coastal landscapes.

Dr Vandra Costello is a garden writer and historic gardens and landscape historian. She publishes widely on garden and landscape history and is the author of Irish Demesne Landscapes 1660–1740 (Four Courts Press, 2015).

Monday, September 18, 2023

Upcoming Lecture : The Ordnance Survey in Ireland 1824 – 1913 by Richard Kirwan on 29/09/23

This lecture will be held exceptionally in the Medieval Museum

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2023 – 2024 lecture series commences at 8 pm on Friday, September 29th in The Medieval Museum, Waterford Treasures, Waterford (Eircode X91 K10E) when Richard Kirwan, former Director, Ordnance Survey Ireland, will deliver a talk titled ‘The Ordnance Survey in Ireland 1824 – 1913’.


In this lecture Richard Kirwan will present an overview of the establishment and work of the Ordnance Survey in mapping the country in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Irish Ordnance Survey was established by the Duke of Wellington in 1824 resulting from a parliamentary select committee’s investigation into the inequitable land valuation system in the country. The Survey’s primary purpose was to provide maps for a new valuation. Major General Thomas Colby, scientist, mathematician, and a man of singular focus was appointed Director General with overall responsibility for carrying out the work.

The maps were to be compiled at a then unprecedented scale of six inches to one mile, a map scale never before used for mapping an entire country. Colby was faced with major challenges. There was no readily available suitable workforce. Hence his first major task was to train sufficient surveyors and cartographers. For the most part, instrumentation had to be manufactured and, in some cases, invented. Work practices had to be put in place to carry out this major task within a reasonable time scale.

Initially, the six-inch map was to only include townland boundaries, communication infrastructure and an outline of urban areas. But after widespread criticism about the lack of detail and hence the difficulty with accurate valuation, field boundaries together with areas were added on Colby’s initiative.

It took a workforce of two-thousand five-hundred men, comprising military surveyors and civil assistants, twenty-two years to complete the mapping, the maps of County Kerry being the last to be published in 1846. By 1857 contours had been added to the six-inch map. A first revision of the six-inch was undertaken immediately, beginning in the northern counties. This revision was superseded in 1887 by a new map at a larger scale of 1:2500 which was needed for land conveyancing, resulting from the various Land Acts of that time. This mapping was complete by 1913 and subject to a further revision.

Placenames were an important attribute of the new maps. Anglicized versions of townland names were to be used. Initially these were collected by the military survey officers with the version of the name supplied by the majority of sources to be used for each townland. Thomas Larcom disagreed with this method when he took over responsibility for placenames. He appointed a Gaelic scholar, John O’Donovan, to assist him with deciphering the anglicized townland names which most closely resembled the original forms of the Irish names. O’Donovan spent ten years travelling Ireland collecting the names and researching their origins in private and public libraries. O’Donovan’s letters to Larcom, in addition to placenames information, also included details of antiquities, local history and, in many cases, humorous details of local customs.

Ordnance Survey also produced town plans at a very large scale of major cities and towns between 1827 and 1842, none of which were ever published. For instance, it produced eleven very detailed maps of Waterford in 1840 which could provide valuable detail to the historian on life in the city at that time. It was not until 1872 that town plans, not as detailed, of Waterford were published. The first one-inch maps of the country were produced in the 1850s and updated through to 1913

Richard Kirwan, is a native of Waterford, he was educated at both Mount Sion and De La Salle schools. He graduated as a civil engineer from University College Cork, where he undertook post graduate studies. Richard is also a graduate of the School of Military Survey in the UK and of Trinity College Dublin.

He spent most of his career working in Ordnance Survey Ireland, initially as senior technical officer before becoming Assistant Director and Director from 1996 until 2006. He also was a founder member and president of the European National Mapping Agencies. After his career in Ordnance Survey, Richard undertook consultancy work, advising National Mapping Agencies in Eastern Europe and South America on the use of modern technology in mapping.

In his early years at Ordnance Survey, he was responsible for the modernisation of the organisation, particularly for pioneering the introduction of digital technologies into mapmaking. During his tenure, Ordnance Survey totally remapped the country, producing both large scale maps and the tourist 1:50,000 scale maps, completing the task in 2005. He also undertook computerising the historic maps of Ireland and publishing them on the internet.

Richard has published two books, If Maps could Speak which won praise from Brian Friel, and a novel Minding Jack, a story set in the streets of Waterford in 1964.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Outing to Kilbarry Church with Dave Pollock 27/08/23

 Join us at Kilbarry at 2pm on Sunday afternoon for our last Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society outing of the summer when Dave Pollock, local archaeologist, will show us around Kilbarry church and graveyard in Waterford's western suburbs.

We meet on Sunday, August 27th at 2pm in the Lacken Road Business Park (X91 YK49)


Kilbarry is best known for the remains of its medieval church, which was controlled by the Knights Templar in the 12th and 13th century. However, this part of Waterford has a rich heritage stretching from the earliest Neolithic farmers to the late medieval period which has been revealed in a series of archaeological excavations directed by Dave Pollock in the vicinity of the church.

Members Free, & €5 for Non-Members.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Free Event for Heritage Week 2023 - Short Talks

 As its contribution to National Heritage Week the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society  is delighted to host a free public event on Friday Aug. 18th at 6 pm in St Patrick's Gateway Centre, Waterford. 

The event comprises a series of short talks by members of the Society on various aspects of Waterford 's rich heritage. 

The talks will cover a miscellany of subjects ranging from Waterford's oldest continuously inhabited house to tales of the patriot Thomas Francis Meagher and more besides.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Outing to Passage East with John Burke 10/08/2023

Join us for an outing to historic Passage East, on the west shore of Waterford Harbour. Passage East's location has meant that over the centuries it has been a fishing port, fortress and ferry point. The village's rich heritage reflects these various functions. 

Our outing will be led by John Burke, noted local historian and author.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Outing to Inistioge & Woodstock 30/07/2023

 On Sunday 30 July 2023, at 2.00pm, join us for an outing to picturesque Inistioge, on the banks of the River Nore in south Kilkenny. The town's rich heritage reflects its medieval origins and shows the influence of the Tighe family of Woodstock House in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Our outing will be led by Ben Murtagh, expert on Inistioge's archaeology and medieval history, and John Kirwan, who has extensively researched the role the Tighe family played in the later development of the town.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Outing to Creaden Head 23 July 2023

 For many years the late Noel McDonagh explored the archaeology of Creadan head, the striking peninsula at the mouth of Waterford Harbour. In recent years the Portalis Project, based in SETU, brought together a multidisciplinary team to build on this work researching the archaeology, geology and social history of the headland. On our outing next Sunday afternoon we have an opportunity to meet members of the team and hear about the research that they have been carrying out.

As parking is limited on the headland, and out of consideration for local residents, the Portalis Project have kindly organised a mini-bus to transfer members from the carpark at Holy Cross Church, Killea, Dunmore East to Creadan Head at 1:30 pm. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Outing to Newtown School, 13 July 2023

 This year marks the 225th anniversary of Newtown School.

Please Join us for a historical stroll around the School and Grounds with Joe Falvey, historian and former teacher. 

Meet at Newtown School (X91 XR20) at 7pm, Thursday, July 13th .

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Upcoming Outing : Tramore, with Paul Brent on 11th June 2023

Our first Summer Outing will take place in Tramore on Sunday 11th June 2023.

Meet near The Coast Guard Cultural Centre (Eircode X91 HP63) at 2pm

Our guide Paul Brent will tell members and guests the history of the following as we walk.

  • The Doneraile family and the Walk named after them
  • The Tramore Coastguard building
  • The Wrecks of Tramore Bay
  • The Metal Man
  • The Harbour in Lady Elizabeth's Cove
  • Lady Doneraile's Cove
  • The Officer's tombstone on the Doneraile walk
  • The Coastguard Gun Battery
  • Abraham Denny Architect and his home
  • The Coastguard Iron Armstrong Coastal Defence Gun on the Doneraile

We will visit Christ Church to view the Sea Horse Monument before walking back by Albion House and Tramore Tennis Club.

Members free, non-members €5.00

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Upcoming Lecture on 26 May 2023 : Jewish Footprints in Provincial Ireland and the Minority Experience by Trisha Oakley Kessler

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2022 – 2023 lecture series concludes at 8 pm on Friday, May 26th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91 YX61) when Dr Trisha Oakley Kessler, research associate, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, will deliver a talk titled ‘Jewish Footprints in Provincial Ireland and the Minority Experience’.

 Harry Goodman ran a photographic studio in Waterford from 1900, branching out to open other studios in Tramore and Carrick-on-Suir over the following decade. This undated photograph of a shopkeeper in Waterford could well be that of Isaac Levi in his shop on John Street. Levi’s wife, Florie Goldring, was, according to the 1901 Irish census, also a photographer and most likely working with Goodman. She may have taken this photograph. Seemingly, Goodman was successful in his profession, photographing Irish men, women and children. By doing so, he created a visual recording of provincial Irish lives that hopefully have been passed down the generations. Yet, ironically, the only visible artefacts of Goodman’s life in Waterford are his embossed signature on this photograph and several announcements in the local paper regarding his studios. This raises the question of why there are so few traces of  Jewish lives outside the larger communities in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick.

Dr Trisha Oakley Kessler’s talk will map the presence of Jews in provincial Ireland in the early decades of the twentieth century to explore how they negotiated belonging and identity during a period in which the Irish people were also navigating political, economic and social change. Exploring the Jewish minority experience highlights concepts of agency, visibility and invisibility. In addition, it examines minority strategies as Jews engaged in new encounters to find a sense of place in Ireland.

Dr Trisha Oakley Kessler explores the Irish economy through a socio-cultural lens to understand everyday life, racism, nationalism and gender in Irish history. Her doctoral thesis from University College Dublin explored political and economic change in 1930s Ireland through the prism of three factories established in provincial Ireland by Jewish refugees, which helped to build a new ladies' hat industry. How these factories came into existence, the economic networks that enabled them to arrive, the challenges they faced entering the Irish economy and their political and economic impact offer a prism to explore identity, modernity, belonging and industrial change. She is interested in the workings and the shifting meanings of factories in twentieth-century Irish provincial life.

Her research interests also focus on the Irish-Jewish community and Irish-Jewish encounters in Ireland and the diaspora. Working with ‘ego documents’, autobiographical writing including memoirs, private correspondence and oral histories, she is working on a social-cultural history of Jews in the Irish economy.

Trisha has taught on a Special Subject Paper, 'An alternative history of Ireland: religious minorities and identity in the 26 counties, 1900-1959' at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, where she also supervises undergraduates on modern Irish history. In addition, Trisha is a Co-Convenor of the Cambridge Modern Irish History Seminar. She is a Research Associate at the Woolf Institute Cambridge and a Non-Stipendiary Teaching Research Fellow at the Herzog Centre, Trinity College Dublin.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Upcoming Lecture by Dr Meriel McClatchie: Food and Farming in Co Waterford, Evidence from Archaeological Excavations

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2022 – 2023 lecture series continues at 8 pm on Friday, April 28th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91 YX61) when Dr Meriel McClatchie, Associate Professor, School of Archaeology, UCD, will deliver a talk titled ‘Food and Farming in Co. Waterford: Evidence from Archaeological Investigations’.


In this lecture Dr McClatchie will examine food and farming in Co. Waterford over the past 10,000 years, based upon evidence from archaeological excavations. Food remains are often recovered during archaeological excavations, most often in the form of animal bones and plant components such as seeds. The study of this material is known as zooarchaeology and archaeobotany, respectively. The lecture will focus more on archaeobotany, which is Meriel’s main area of research, but zooarchaeology will also be included.

 Charred plant remains are used by archaeologists to reconstruct past diets and farming practices. Neolithic hazelnut shell (left), Neolithic emmer wheat grains (middle), Bronze Age barley grain (right).

Archaeobotany is the study of past societies and environments through the analysis of preserved plant remains. These tiny, fragile remains require special conditions to enable their preservation over centuries and millennia. Most often they are preserved because they have been burnt, perhaps when being dried or cooked over a fire, or when dumped into a fire as waste. Plant remains can also become preserved when kept consistently wet (waterlogged), which has been encountered in urban deposits from Viking and medieval Waterford. Although animal bones are more durable than plant remains, they also require certain conditions for preservation. Unfortunately, the acidic soils in some parts of Ireland mean that animal bone does not survive well at all sites, but where they are preserved, they can provide important insights into food choices and animal management practices.

Meriel’s talk will take several points in time over the past 10,000 years to explore the character of food and farming in Co. Waterford, and how it changed over the years. The earliest archaeological evidence for settlements in Ireland dates to the Mesolithic period, which began around 10,000 years ago. Over the following four millennia, hunter-gatherers made use of many different environments to gather plants above and below ground, hunt (including wild pig) and fish for food. Farming arrived in Ireland almost 6000 years ago, in the first centuries of the Neolithic period. New domesticated crops and animals were brought to Ireland, including emmer wheat and barley, as well as cattle and sheep/goat. During the Bronze Age, which began over 4000 years ago, and the Iron Age, which began over 2500 years ago, new farming management practices emerged, as well as new crops, such spelt wheat. Following the arrival of Christianity during the early medieval period more than 1500 years ago, farming was transformed, both in terms of how it was practised and what was farmed; new crops included oat and legumes. In some areas, there was a shift towards bread wheat from around 800 years ago (the medieval period), and many records of foods being exported from and imported into Ireland; the latter included ‘exotic’ foods such as figs, almonds and walnuts. Finally, during the post-medieval period (from almost 500 years ago), further changes in food choices can be detected, often reflecting changing social and religious practices. This lecture will draw upon case studies from each period over the past 10,000 years to explore changing food practices and what these can reveal about broader society.

Meriel McClatchie is an Associate Professor of Archaeology at University College Dublin. She began her studies at University College Cork, where she completed BA and MA degrees in 1995 and 1997, respectively. She later undertook PhD research at University College London (degree awarded 2009). Since her undergraduate studies, Meriel’s main research interest has been what is known as ‘archaeobotany’: the scientific analysis of ancient non-wood plant macro-remains, such as cereal grains and chaff, seeds of other crops, weed seeds, fruit stones and nutshell. Archaeobotany was the basis of both her Masters dissertation at UCC (which explored medieval engagements with plants) and PhD thesis at UCL (which explored food and farming in Bronze Age Ireland). Her current research is focused on archaeology in Europe, with a particular interest in food (from early prehistoric to early modern societies), prehistoric landscapes and settlements. In recent years, she has undertaken fieldwork in Serbia and Tanzania, and she also undertook fieldwork in Uganda during her PhD studies.

Meriel is Director of the Ancient Foods Research Group and the Archaeobotany Laboratory at UCD. Her current major research projects are investigating

•     early modern foodways (Foodcult;

•     underutilised crops (Croprevive; and

•     food storage and security (Foodsec;

All welcome, non-members €5.

WAHS Committee 2023 - 2024

 Following the AGM of  31 March 2023, the following committee was elected: 


Chairperson : Joe Falvey
Vice Chair :  Erica Fay
Honorary Secretary :  Simon Dowling
Honorary Treasurer : Donnchadh Ó'Ceallacháin
PRO :  James Eogan
Honorary Editor : David Prendergast
Representative to the Federation of Local History Societies :  Clare Walsh

Committee Members 

   Anne Cusack
Mary Breen
 Sonny Condon
Greta Falvey
 Michael Farrell
 Ben Murtach
Béatrice Payet
 Bill Walsh

Ex Officio :

Nóra Tubbritt

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

AGM 2023

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 31 March 2023 in St Patrick's Gateway Centre at 8pm followed by a presentation by Christina Knight-O'Connor


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Upcoming Lecture on 24 March 2023 : Digitally Remapping Ireland's Ordnance Survey by Dr Catherine Porter

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2022 – 2023 lecture series continues at 8 pm on Friday, March 24th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91 YX61) when Dr Catherine Porter will deliver a talk titled ‘Digitally Remapping Ireland's Ordnance Survey’.


In 1824, the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland began in earnest, within two decades accurate six-inch maps had been published for Waterford and many other parts of the country. The maps produced from the survey act as a basis for much of what we read in today’s landscape, in Waterford and across the island. But the geographies of Ireland collected and collated by the Ordnance Survey extend far beyond cartography; other sources detail the natural landscape, built environment, cultural heritage and more. Whilst the material generated from this venture inform today’s conversations on the contested tangible and in-tangible legacies of nineteenth-century Britain in Ireland, it also holds a wealth of information on pre-famine populations and their resilience in the face of an evolving landscape

In this talk Dr Porter will introduce us to OS200: Digitally Re-mapping Ireland’s Ordnance Survey Heritage, a three-year project co-funded by the Irish Research Council (Ireland) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom). The research team based at the University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast aim to draw together, for the first time since their creation, the maps, memoirs, name books and letters from the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland forming one freely accessible digital resource hosted by Digital Repository Ireland.

In the lecture Catherine will explore examples of the source materials, explain their importance in understanding the complex histories of the island, and explain how the resource might be used by local historians, researchers and the public.


Dr Catherine Porter is a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Limerick. A historical geographer, her research interests lie in new ways to approach and analyse early maps and texts, specifically the histories of mapping Ireland from the sixteenth-century to the nineteenth-century. Catherine is currently the Ireland lead investigator of the OS200: Digitally Re-mapping Ireland’s Ordnance Survey Heritage digital humanities project co-funded by the Irish Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She also leads a project on the early nineteenth-century ‘Looney Map’ of Tipperary, and through the Royal Irish Academy’s R..J. Hunter grant is exploring the cartography of the confiscated lands of Ulster. She holds the J.B. Harley fellowship in the history of cartography and is a current member of the Royal Irish Academy Historical Studies Committee.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Upcoming Lecture 24 /02 / 2023: Tales of Tramore 1816 -1916 by Paul Brent

In this talk local historian Paul Brent will provide an insight into the lives of the residents and the visitors to Tramore over the period of one hundred years, encompassing the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras, starting with the wreck of the military transport ship “The Sea Horse” and the terrible loss of life that this disaster brought with it. The symbol of the Seahorse has remained as part of the heritage of the town and Waterford Crystal.

Paul’s talk will cover many other events that had a major impact in the development of the town. As a tourist destination, the infrastructure of the town was designed to cater for the needs of the visitors. Their physical needs were well catered for with the large number of hotels and guest houses built at this time. While the spiritual needs of the two major religious denominations were also catered for by the building of two new churches, the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church and the Anglican Christ Church.

Tramore is famous for its horse races. Martin J. Murphy played a big part in developing this industry in Tramore. This talk will look at the people, places and events that made Tramore a destination much sought after in the past and also in the present.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Waterfordmen and the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War by Emmet O'Connor

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society 2022 – 2023 lecture series continues at 8 pm on Friday, January 27th in St Patrick’s Gateway Centre, Waterford (Eircode X91 YX61)

Our first lecture of the year will be delivered by Waterford native Dr Emmet O’Connor,

a senior lecturer in Ulster University who has published widely on labour history including, with Barry McLoughlin, In Spanish Trenches: The Mind and Deeds of the Irish Who Fought for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War (UCD Press, 2020), and Rotten Prod: The Unlikely Career of Dongaree Baird (UCD Press, 2022) 

     Irish volunteers with the International Brigades photographed at Jarama, Spain. The front row includes Waterfordmen Peter O’Connor (2nd from left), Paddy Power (4th from left), and Johnny Power (right). Courtesy of the late Peter O'Connor.

On Saturday 19 December 1936, four Waterfordmen made their way to London’s Victoria Station and caught the boat train to Paris. Their true destination was the training base of the International Brigades at Albacete, 264 kilometres south east of Madrid. It was another step in the making of Waterford’s substantial connection with the Connolly Column, the name which has become a blanket term for the Irish who fought for the Spanish Republic. The four – Jackie Hunt, Peter O’Connor, Johnny Power, and Paddy Power – were followed to Spain by Billy Power, younger brother of Johnny and Paddy, Johnny Kelly, Harry Kennedy, Jackie Lemon, John O’Shea, and Mossie Quinlan. The eleventh man was Frank Edwards.

Conditions in the International Brigades were tough and often deadly, and the Waterford volunteers reflected the variety of experiences. One was killed. One deserted. Five were wounded, one on two occasions; a sixth was hospitalised from an illness contracted in battle; a seventh was stunned by a trench mortar. They returned to a changed Ireland, where economic prospects were bleak, and attitudeswere hostile. But the 1980s would bring new perspectives on the Spanish Civil War and the emergence of a politics of commemoration in which Waterford was prominent.

The Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society, Ireland.
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