Captain’s Grandy of Waterford

There is a fine rectangular headstone in Faithlegg Graveyard that is very distinctive both in design and definition.  On the face is etched the names of two sea captains, Edward and Samuel Grandy.  The grave hints at their commercial success, but their story is a remarkable insight into the life and times of 19th century sailors, men who sailed before the mast in what some have described at the “days of wooden ships and iron men”

On a glorious sunny morning a few weeks back I chanced upon the headstone of the Captains Grandy.  Whatever way the early morning light caught the carving; I spotted the word captain, and was drawn towards it.  Some water poured over the limestone allowed the sun to illuminate it further and a month of research was born. 

The information although brief was interesting and a bit sad.  Edward Grandy died 18th April 1844 aged 40.  His older brother Samuel died just over two years later on August 28th 1846 aged 54. On the side Samuels wife is inscribed and other family.

So what have I found out so far about the sailors. Well Edward Grandy married a Ms Eliza Walsh in 1830.  Edward was then 26 years old and master of the Frances Mary, a New Brunswick registered Bark of 372 ton. The ships was owned by a P Morris.  I am speculating that he was involved in the normal runs including emigration and timber freight on his return.  On one such trip 19th Dec 1830 the Frances (and) Mary was recorded at Passage East following arrival from Quebec with timber, deals and staves.

This image of the Waterford schooners Alexander, Rapid and Martha (1833) off Hook Head always evokes a sense of the commercial dymanism of the city at the time. It’s a coloured engraving from the painting by noted marine artist John Lynn. National Maritime Museum, London

In 1838, he was master and ¼ owner of the Juverna.  The Juverna was barque of 311 ton, built in Whites shipyard of Waterford. The White family held the majority shares in the vessel.  In 1839 there is a mention of the vessel plying the South East Asia trade bringing coal to India. (I found mentions of the ship at Bombay, Kedgeree and Singapore) The New Commercial Directory for the Cities Of Waterford and Kilkenny, Towns Of Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir, New Ross and Carlow 1839 stated that at that point his shore address was 4 Sion Row, Ferrybank, Waterford. Tragically, his wife Eliza died in Bombay I understand, presumably having sailed with him on this ship. However, I have no further details. Their son and daughter were taken in by Eliza’s sister Mary Power of New Ross.

In 1843, on a return trip with a cargo of sugar from Mauritius the Juverna was badly damaged after sailing into a hurricane. Although her destination was Liverpool, the Juverna returned to her home port of Waterford. Most probably to have repairs made and was described in the papers as without rudder or sails.  (Contemporary newspaper reports tell of a storm of such violence that 18 vessels were lost).  Bill Irish stated that the repairs cost over £2000. When the Juverna put to sea again in August 1843, Edward Grandy was not at the helm. I am speculating that he was badly hurt on what to have proven to be his final journey.

A hand drawn sketch by William Musgrave of Ferrybank 1825 showing Whites shipyard and beside it Pope’s yard. With thanks to Brendan Grogan.

The local papers reported on his death in April. “On Thursday Morning last, at the residence of his brother, Captain Samuel Grandy, Captain Edward Grandy, aged 41 – a sincere and edifying convert to the Catholic faith.  He had been a protestant until his illness, during which he was attended by that esteemed clergyman, the Rev T Dowley, St John’s College, and was by him brought into the fold of the one Shepard” 

Samuel was the older brother and he married Margaret White in Waterford in 1821.  The first ship I can find that he captained was the Three Sisters, a schooner of 144 tons, Quebec registered and owned by the Waterford merchant family of Pope & Co. 

The Three Sisters arrived at Waterford city on Sunday 12th August 1832 from St John’s Newfoundland.   John Smithers the local Comptroller of Customs, Lieutenant Shaw and the officers of the coast guard proceeded to board the vessel and conducted a search for contraband. The following was found in a variety of parts of the ship:

“13lbs. of tea and a jar of Cognac brandy, containing 3 quarts, covered over with empty bottles—two loaves of sugar, 28 lbs. of raw ditto, and 31 bottles of wine—a cask of rum, measuring 17 gallons, covered over with a large quantity of old sails, etc., keg containing about 3 quarts of rum—a firkin of foreign butter, and 2 barrels foreign pork…the officers then proceeded to Captain Grandy’s house, Hanover-street, which is very short distance from where the vessel lay in the river, and they found on searching the house, 5 gallons of brandy, 24lbs. of manufactured tobacco, 32lbs. of black tea, 3lbs. of green ditto, and 3lbs, of sugar, all of which were brought to, and lodged in the Custom House Stores.”

Waterford Mail – Wednesday 22 August 1832; page 4

The mate and two ships boys, the only persons on board the schooner were arrested and thrown into jail.  On Monday Samuel turned himself in and joined his crew in a jail cell.  He posted bail of £100 which was lodged with the mayor. At a subsequent trial he was fined the same, which if he agreed to pay, further charges would be dropped.  The crew didn’t get a mention. But a chap named Mackey, a passenger of Grandy’s returning home to Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was also in court. He had been captured on the quay with pockets stuffed with undeclared tobacco!

A later period, but a sense of Waterford and the busy quays during the era of sail. With thanks to Michael Butch Power

In April of 1833, The Waterford Mail reported that two Grandy’s were masters of two vessels leaving the port with emigrants.  On the 12th of April Three Sisters departed for Newfoundland, while on the 15th the City of Waterford sailed for Quebec.  Samuel was most probably the skipper of the first vessel but more on skipper of the City of Waterford later.

In 1841 we learn from another newspaper account of the loss of the Irish Lass which was launched from the “Waterford Dockyard” in March 1835.  The account tells us that at 11pm pm on the night of the 31st March (1841) the Irish Lass grounded on a sand bank off the coast of Uruguay.  By 3am the ship was being savagely pounded and the decision was taken to abandon ship.  The ships long boat was launched and rowing through mountainous seas the crew made it ashore.  They had nothing but the clothes on their back, and then trekked over 100 miles of desert to Riogrande.  They subsequently took a ship to Monte Video and from there to England by the first departing ship.

Samuel was now without a ship and the next time I encountered him, he was attending a meeting in Waterford in February of 1842, the intention being to set up a rival to the Waterford New Ross steamer, Shamrock.  Samuel is elected to the organising committee, and when the Paddle Steamer (PS) Maid of Erin starts plying the waters, none other than Samuel is aboard as captain.  In the narrow confines of the rivers and the stress and strain of landing passengers and freight in competition with another vessel, tempers flared and bust ups were common.  Samuel didn’t shirk from the fray!  Here’s an example from a recent story from Kathleen Moore Walsh.

As we have seen his brother Edward died at Samuel’s home in 1844.  The next mention I have is of him being back on the high seas in 1845.  The strange thing is that the ship is listed on Lloyds register as being owned by an E Grandy and skippered by same. On June 20th 1846, the Bark(sic) President, under Captain Samuel Grandy was cleared for New Ross from Quebec.  It was his last journey.  He died at home on August 28th

In December of 1846 the President was put up for sale at Waterford.  Her next listing at Lloyds (1847) show her as still owned by E Grandy but under a Captain Melhuish.  In 1851, the same master is aboard, but ownership has transferred to H Eaton.  Not a name I have come across as associated with Waterford as yet. Margaret Grandy, opened a ships provisioning store in King St (The town side of what is now O’Connell St) in December after Samuel’s death. Presumably because she needed an income to sustain her family.

Waterford Chronicle – Saturday 05 December 1846; page 3

The connection with Faithlegg I have yet to establish, but a number of Whites are buried in the adjoining area.  And one other mystery that I have yet to unravel is that there was another Captain Grandy – Thomas.  He was master of the previously mentioned City of Waterford.  He was heavily involved in the Waterford to Quebec trade between 1826-1837 when it appears he retired ashore at Quebec and became a successful merchant.  Could it be a third Grandy brother? 

The finding of the grave on June 1st has opened a whole new chapter on my understanding of Waterfords dynamic trade and traders of the early 19th Century. The sheer breath of trade and the conditions these seafarers endured makes for grim reading. For these were men who endured with stoicism the vagaries of wind and weather, shipwreck and personal tragedy as they sailed the ocean waves. They certainly were Iron men.

I’m conscious that even after a month of research in all my spare time, many questions remain and significant gaps in my understanding of the family remains. I’d like to thank Joe Falvey, Brendan Grogan, Michael Farrell, Kathleen Moore Walsh and in particular Jim Doherty for assistance with the piece. Thanks also to Ivan Fitzgerald for some follow up on Margaret Grandy which I had not space to include. As ever, all the errors and inaccuracies are my own. If you have any further info on the brothers, their family origins or their ships I’d be delighted to hear it in the comments or by email to tidesntales@gmail.com.

Moran’s Poles – a placename, a refuge

Its not by accident that Moran’s Poles have become so identifiable with me on social media. Since childhood I have loved the place. Although in those times it was a working space, an area where the fishermen hauled out their punts and prongs to dry them out over winter and make repairs and paint them up. It was also a safe anchorage except in easterly wind, and the strongest of SW winds. And there they gathered, the fishermen to work, to smoke, to yarn the short winter days away, and there I sat absorbing all that they said and done and felt part of them.

A summer capture of the sunrise – I have to admit I am surprised at the positive reaction I continue to get to these photos, surprised but very grateful

Now that the fishing has all but gone, and those old fishermen are enjoying their eternal reward, I still cling to the place and still use it to keep the punt safe and overwinter. But there is hardly a day that passes that I don’t walk down and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the place and it was this that started me out on the social media posts, and which on twitter are now found on the hashtag #MoransPolesSunrise. But whether it is dawn or dusk, ships passing, birds flying, swans foraging or young people rowing, I probably take more photos of Moran’s Poles than anywhere else.

Nanny sorrounded by her brothers – the boys went to fish from as early as they had the strength to pull the oars. Richard, the eldest is missing from the photo, he emigrated age 16 to New York

The Poles are just below the house where my mother, Mary Moran was born. The name derives from her family and when my grandmother (nanny) was asked she said simply that her father and brothers built the poles as a breakwater. The Moran family, Michael, Catherine (nee Malone – Bill Malone had come in the famine times from Whitechurch on the River Barrow and married a woman named Anne Lynch from the village my grandmother said) Richard, Paddy, Christy, Mickey, Johnny, Willie and the last to be born Maura (aka nanny). I don’t know exactly how many boats the family operated, but I do know there was a punt, a prong and a half decker in the family possession – and there may have been more.

Launching the punt after overwintering and repairs photo includes a pre grey me at the bow, my brother Chris, our father Bob, Gavin and Anthony Doherty and Dermot Kavanagh

The Basic design of the Poles was that it afforded a breakwater to the prevailing westerly winds, but it also did two other things. It maintained a soft mud bank above the poles, where the boats could safely lie when the tide went out and it also acted as a barrier to the carrying of rocks up river when the gales blew and the tides roared and worked their combined attrition on the strand.

Some of the damage that needed to be replaced
Our recent repairs
The crew busy picking up the rocks on the upper side and placing them below the poles

Although some have claimed that the poles are the remenants of an old Scotch weir, I don’t hold with that at all. Not just because I never heard the old lads say it, but because design wise they are not compatible. The scoth weirs poles were futher apart as nets were hung from them, and stretched as far as low water – Moran’s Poles have never gone futher than half way out the strand.

Over the years we have tried to maintain the poles to prevent them disappearing, the most notable work was done with our family, Pat Moran and Maurice Doherty in the 1990’s when we employed a digger to help. In recent weeks we did another patch up job, replacing a number of poles near the shore, and subsquently picked the rocks that had strayed upriver and were a risk to grounding the punts. Its an ongoing job.

The appeal of the Poles on social media has given them a renewed focus. Just as well, as with the loss of the fishery such features and placenames risk being lost to history, and yet such places are rich with it. In recent times I have had several artists share work that has been inspired by the Poles, and most recently Tomás Sullivan used it as a fundraiser for the Darkness into Light appeal. Such attention is welcome and will go some way to maintaing the placename. I also use it as a backdrop for heritage walks and talks. I had hoped to do something similar for this years Heritage Week. However due to the Covid 19 restrictions this is no longer possible. But the Poles will feature, as we have a new idea for this year, an online concept to record the old fishing placenames. More at a later stage.

If you have any thoughts on what you have read, I would love to hear from you at tidesntales@gmail.com or place a comment on the blog

Passing on the tradtions to the younger crew – no longer able to fish, they can at least learn something of the old ways and keep some of our traditions alive

Rowdyism at the Races -Regattas of 1893

The local regattas of Waterford, New Ross and the harbour have a long tradition, and the season of events in 1893 was as widely attended and as fiercely competed as any other years.  To the victors went the spoils and the bragging rights, to the losers disapointment and a determination to do better at the next event. But tempers sometimes flared, plans went awry and drink added fuel to already tense situations. But it was in the racing competitions that the real drama took place and 1893 would prove to be a lively racing season as any other.

A recent email from Florida of a silver vase/cup which was presented at the Passage East Regatta of 1893 led me on a fascinating trawl for further information.   The mention of regattas evoke a bright and energetic scene in my mind. Reared on stories of the older ones I can picture a flag boat, brightly bedecked from where the races were co-ordinated. The “quality” on their yachts and finer boats, the fishermen in their working craft, looking as clean and well turned out as any other, and their pride in their craft no less than the weathiest owners present. On land a variety of activities well attended by hundreds drawn by boat and foot from many miles. But it was on the water where the drama would be, fiercely contested races, disputes between crews, and bragging rights to the winners which brough huge pride to the boat, the crew and the winning village. As a child these exploits were often relived to me, the boats celebrated and the disputes grew legs in the telling, or so I thought. So although I could very well imagine the story around the photo of the cup I was keen nonetheless to try put weight to my theories.  And so a search of the newspaper archives[i] brought the 1893 season alive to me.  I will start it in chronological order of the events that I managed to discover.

A sense of a regatta scene at Helvic, Co Waterford

At the AGM of the Waterford Boat Club in March some concerns were expressed at the lack of members given that the new club house in Ferrybank – that left the club with a debt of £64.  The membership subscription was considered low, but as it was seen as a recreational pursuit at the time, the chairman was hoping that more numbers would come forward to facilitate a regatta later in the summer[ii]. A follow up meeting saw a committee appointed comprising of organisers, race starters, umpires and judges[iii].  However, in a later report it was “… decided, owing to the non-training of the crews to abandon the annual regatta… This announcement will, we feel sure, be met with regret, as this annual event was one of the most prominent aquatic fixtures in Ireland”[iv]  Possibly an overstatement, but not perhaps, to the readers of the Waterford Chronical.

New Ross had no such issues.  In fact the training was so hot and heavy in the boat club, people were putting their lives in jeopardy.  From one report we learn of three separate incidents in the one week.  Firstly a boat was wrecked when an over enthusiastic oarsman hopped aboard and went through the hull.  The crew were none the worse for the wetting, but the boat necessitated a visit from the builder (Mr Rough) in Oxford, England who made the necessary repairs.  Meanwhile another single rower smacked into a river boat at anchor.  “…The stem of the skiff was considerably damaged, and she filled with water, the trainer having to swim ashore, dragging, as well as he could, the boat after him.”  Finally a very capable oarsman had rowed as far as Annagh Castle but on returing up to Ross his Skiff was upset and sunk.  Swimming to shore he righted and emptied his craft returning to New Ross none the worst for his adventure except for his wet attire.[v]

Ida with a crowd of revellers aboard. With thanks to Andy Kelly

I’ve found a few dates mentioned for the New Ross regatta of that year, and it seems likely the event was rescheduled, but apparently it was run off on Monday June 26th.  Ironically the same date as had earlier been proposed in Waterford.  A report in the Waterford Chronical painted a wonderful picture of a Waterford city crowd arriving by the paddle steamer Vandeluer for a day of revelry and promenading, remarking on the passengers enjoying the views along the “majestic windings of the noble stream” but following arrival at the town of New Ross, the weather takes a turn for the worse, leading the writer to evoke Shakespeare “Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, And make me travel forth without my cloak, To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way, Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?[vi]

The races are run however including an open Cot race, Carvel built Yawl race for boats fishing inside the Tower of Hook, and a sculling Punt race. The race of the day was apparently the New Ross Boat Club Challenge Cup which was staged between the locals and Dublin University Boat Club, victory by a long margin to the locals was triumphantly recorded.  Two other races were recorded; large Gig race and a skiff race.  Numbers of competitors in the report were very small however, and I didn’t notice any boats from the lower harbour – perhaps their knowledge of the weather kept them away.[vii]

There was another side to the popular event however and for many weeks after, the courts dealt with several serious cases of public order.  In one, Joseph Halligan of Ringville (situated downriver on the Kilkenny side) was brought before the Petty Sessions after he wielded a bottle at a brawl during the regatta.  Halligan had arrive in Ross with his neighbours and friends to race in the regatta when some prime boys from the town, described as sailors and porters, had taken the oars to their boats and had refused to hand them back.  Tempers flared and on one of his colleagues being knocked senseless to the ground Halligan went on the attack and broke not one but two bottles off his tormentors.  Constable Kepple had made enquires and found that the defendant had been much provoked and on his evidence the bench decided to fine the defendant 1s with costs.  His willingness to cooperate and the evidence of Constable Kepple were cited as the reasons for the leniency shown.[viii]

Another report under the headline of “Drunkenness and Rowdyism” dealt with several cases of assault while another weeks court report was headlined “The Faction Fight Near New Ross”, and detailed a dispute between rival fishing crews of cot men from Kilbrehon and the neighbouring district arising out of the regatta races.[ix]

Tramore regatta with a wide variety of sailing boats and other craft participating.

The next meet of the summer was on Tuesday 12th September at Tramore.  A report of the day described it “so far as the spectators were concerned… a thorough success” However in racing terms it proved a disappointment at least for sailing purposes.  The course for all sailing races was “…from the flag boat at Cove, round  flag boat at Strand, round flag boat under Brownstown Head, round flag boat a mile south of Mettleman, and home”  There were ten races scheduled including for: Second Class Fishing Yawls, Half-decked Pleasure Boats, Lobster pot boats (oars and sail allowed), Passage and Ballyhack Fishing Yawls, Sailing Punts, First Class Yawls, Pair oared Punts, Swimming race, Coastguard Boats, Four Oared Yawls and a Duck Hunt.  The following account was given of the Coastguard race which although understated I could well imagine was a matter of some pride, not to say hostility between these particular crews: “This proved an excellent race, and we should like see another contest between the same crews. The Blue Jackets strained every nerve in their rivalry, and if the Tramore crew was beaten it was little more than short head. Order finish was—Bonmahon 1st, Tramore 2nd,  Ballymacaw 3rd and Dunmore 4th[x]

Cheekpoint was held two days later, on Thursday 14th September.  The scene was described as “an annual fixture, [which]…took place… under very favourable conditions, and was an unqualified success.  A hazy morning was succeeded by a beautiful autumn day, and the lovely expanse of water which forms the confluence of the Suir and Barrow never looked to greater advantage, gaily-decked fleet of pleasure craft and fishing boats giving an unwonted air of animation to the scene” [xi]

Pat Powers steam yacht Jennie, off the Rookery quay, pre 1903 as Barrow Railway bridge commenced late 1902

Giving a sense of the popularity, the river had many boats on show, where the wealthier or more privileged spectators took advantage of some of the best viewing opportunities, whilst being royally entertained. As befitted the local landlord, Pat Power of Faithlegg House, took centre stage with his steam yacht Jennie[xii] – crewed by local men including members of the Heffernan and Barry families.  The Jennie was “dressed with bunting from deck to trucks, and numerous and fashionable party were entertained on board by her popular owner.”  Amongst other yachts present as spectators on the day were Mr J N White’s Neerid,  Mr Murphy’s Pixie,  Mr Gallwey’s Thyra, Mr J R Colfer’s Dunmore, Messrs Graves and McConkeys  Irex, and many others that were unidentified.[xiii]

But it wasn’t just an event for the well to do.  The article mentions that  “The country folk [of which I would surely be included had I been there] assembled in great numbers along Cheekpoint Strand to watch the various contests, and we are glad to be able record that, although many of the rowing events elicited great enthusiasm and excitement, the day passed off without the least rowdyism or unpleasantness”[xiv]  Perhaps proving the point, I found no mention of the event in court reports afterwards.  Honest, I did look! That said, it was often while fishing or while visiting another village thereafter that sport could kick off. My father often recalled punch ups between competing crews due to a regatta race, where infringements, real or imagined, resurfaced and regularly led to trouble.

“There were numerous other events, including sailing and rowing races for fishing yawls, ships’ gig race, pair-oared and sculling punts, farmers’ race, pram [Prong] race, duck hunt, etc., all of which were well contested.”  But according to the report the principal event of the day was the race for pleasure boats, which resolved itself into duel between Mr R Kelly’s Oceola and Mr J Barry ‘s Ballinagoul, and Mr Allinghams Otis.  A vivid description of this 12 mile race that involved sailing below Duncannon and finishing with two laps around Cheekpoint to finish.  It turned into a two horse race after the Otis lost her topsail, after trading places on several occasions a thrilling finish saw the Oceola beat Ballinagoul into second place by six feet.[xv]

A colourised image of Dunmore East. Following interaction with Eoin Robson who facilitated further assistance with Alison Cable, Boat Register editor of the Old Gaffers Association we speculated on the possibility of the three boats shown as having participated in the Cheekpoint regatta described above. However, this was prior to the other information I have on Passage East. I share it in case it might prompt a memory or extra information (and it may also be spot on). None of the 3 [boats mentioned in the Cheekpoint regatta above] are in the 1895/6 [Lloyds yacht] register, but Oceola, belonging to Mr R A Kelly appears in 1897-90. She drops of the register in 1901. She is listed as a cutter, with sails by Grant. Displacement 5 tons Thames measure. 25′ on the waterline. Designed by E.Murphy and built by E Power in Waterford in 1892. Her home port is listed as Waterford, which certainly goes with racing at Dunmore East.

“Otis, owned by J Allingham also appear in the 1897 register, but her details are very scanty, merely listing her as a cutter of 5 tons Thames measure. Her home port is London. It is possible that the two cutters in this photo are Oceola and Otis, with the yawl being Ballinagoul. I have found no boat of this name in the register, although a J.Barry is listed as a yacht builder in Cork active in 1876 when he built Mystery”

More on Otis. “Her entry was very odd, since her details are so scanty and she also had no obvious connection with the Waterford Harbour area. However I found a boat listed in the 1903, 1910, 1915 registers called Kate, ex Otis. She is a cutter, with sails by Grant, 6 tons TM, 25′ on the waterline, and built by Hicks of Waterford in 1888. Her owner is listed as Patrick Bolger of New Ross. Patrick Bolger owned another very similar yacht called Kate in 1897, this one built by Fitzpatrick of Waterford. It is likely that Patrick Bolger bought Otis from Mr Allingham, and renamed her. There seems to have been a flourishing yacht building culture is Waterford! ” With thanks to Eoin and Alison for their thoughts and expertise.
On a related note – David Carroll has pointed out that the colour image used actually dates to 1925 or after. This still does not take from Alisons information however, these boats were built to last.

The email query that started this quest for details of the Passage regatta was the last to be run of the 1893 season.  Passage East was blighted by glorious sunshine and still breezes, which favoured those viewing and some of the rowing races but made a misery of the sailing.  For the purposes of trying to identify the cup I thought it best to concentrate on the sailing races, of which there were four but only two given any great detail.  “There were numerous entries for all the sailing races, of which two were for pleasure boats and two for yawls ; but these events were greatly marred by the want of wind. The chief race, for first class pleasure boats, brought the following to starting line —Mr Colfer’s Dunmore Allingham’s Otis,  Mr Kelly’s Oceola,  Mr O’Neill’s Naiad, Mr Barry’s Ballinagoul,” and Mr Power’s Mary Joseph.  The course was from Passage Pier. A good start was made at 12.15, and with a light W.N.W. breeze, the run was quickly made; here the wind veered W.S.W., and Mary Joseph and Ballinagoul, in this order drew away from the others; however, the breeze soon got back about W, which just enabled boats lay their course on the return journey to Passage. The second round was very tedious, and running for Dunmore the boats were at times barely aide to stem the strong flood tide. Mary Joseph caught a puff off Glenwater, which enabled her to creep ahead of Oceola, and managed to increase her lead on the reach home. The finish was Mary Joseph first by about three minutes, Ocoola second, the rest a long way behind. In second pleasure boat race Mr H W Goffs Waterway won easily from Mr Paul’s Alarm and Mr Meade’s Seabird.  The rowing were all well contested and in the afternoon donkey races, Greasy Pole and other sports, gave unbounded amusements to the large crowd on shore.”[xvi]

Passage East Regatta cup image courtesy of Paul Fitzgerald. The cup/ vase reads: PASSAGE EAST REGATTA, September 20th 1893, Won by (at this stage there is a distict gap with some soldering marks suggesting a badge or plaque had been in place -my theory s that it was for the winning craft and/or crew)
MIST (an abbreviation for Mr?), H.W.D. Goff

Unfortunately I could find no extra detail of the Passage events. I thought that through them I might get a better insight into the details on the cup and a lead on who may have won it, or the connection of Hubert Goff to the event.  Goff was the son of Sir William Davis Goff the business man and keen sportsman who had a passion for sailing. However Hubert was only a young man at the time, so would he have had the cash or the interest in providing a prize for a sailing meet? My theory is that he did. We do know from the report that his craft the Waterway won the second pleasure boat race. But is this the cup he won. Personally I don’t think so. I’m basing this on a theory that the hallmarked cup/vase which stands 4.5 inches high was engraved before the event and that a later plaque was added with the winning boat and crew.   It’s the only theory that I can imagine that fits with the writing that is there.  Afterall, why would the cup maker go to the bother and expense of adding another piece to the cup if it was all engraved after the event with the winner?  I’m open to correction or any other theories. Following through on this theory it is possible that the winner of this cup was the Mary Joseph, owned by Mr Power. Mere speculation here, as I have no further evidence, but Pat Power of Faithlegg had on son named Hubert who had also a passion for sailing and owned a number of sailing vessels. The only yacht I have a name for however is Star of the Sea, which was a boat he had built himself, apparently in the Rookery, Cheekpoint, which he sailed up until ill health prevented him.

Finally, the Passage regatta also led to court.  In this case two young lads named Connolly and O’Gorman appeared in court at the Callaghane Petty Sessions on charges of having robbed a boat while attending the Passage East Regatta and used it to head back upriver to Waterford.  However while enroute, they were rundown by the New Ross Steamer (The Ida at this time) and narrowly avoided drowning.  Their solicitor could do little but appeal to the mercy of the court.  Judgement was withheld but with a caution that compensation be made to the boat owner, Mr Arthur O’Neill of Glenbower.[xvii]

Despite hours of searching I found no mention of a regatta that year at Dunmore, Ballyhack or Duncannon.  The season was brought to a conclusion with Passage East, and no doubt the long winter would bring retelling of the events, replays of the winning strategies and planning for revenge for those who narrowly lost out.  It would all be replayed in 1894 and the competitions would be as fierce as ever.   But that of course is a whole different story.

If you have any other information, images or memorabilia on the events of 1893 or any regattas in the area I would love to hear them in the comments or to tidesntales@gmail.com  

If you would like a sense of the rowing races I previously wrote a story on the Cheekpoint regatta of 1909.

I have many people to thank for assistance with this piece. Paul Fitzgeral who prompted the search, John Diamond and Myles Courtney from New Ross, Joe Falvey from Waterford, Paul O’Farrell and Eoin Robson and Alison Cable. Each in their own way gave extra insight or their valuable time to help with details. I think the photos help to bring the story alive and I am indebted to Waterford County Museum and thier online catalouge of photograph used throughout the story. The responsibility for what is contained is my own.

My new book is scheduled to be published in September 2020.
Its available for pre-order at https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/waterford-harbour/9780750993685/

May Day Maritime History quiz

As we enter another bank holiday weekend in lockdown, David Carroll has put together this maritime history quiz of the SE area to give you a bit of a distraction. The questions have a maritime/historical basis and any of my regular blog readers will have a good understanding of them already. But for others it’s multiple choice so a one in three chance of being right. David will post the answers here on Monday. So hope you enjoy it.

Brendan Grogan image of Ballyhack in the ealry 1970’s
  1. Ballyhack Castle is thought to have been built c 1450 by which great military order? A: Knights Hospitallers of St John, B: Knights Templars or C: Teutonic Knights
  2. Dollar Bay acquired its name from a cargo of 250 sacks of Spanish milled gold dollars, ingots and gold dust that were buried there by pirates in 1765. The ship from which it was stolen had departed from Tenerife, in the Canaries, for passage to London.
    The ship was called? A: Earl of Wessex, B: Earl of Sandwich or C: Earl of Pembroke
  3. “At Geneva Barracks that young man died
    And at Passage they have his body laid
    Good people who live in peace and joy
    Breathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy”
    Originally built to accommodate Swiss artisans, valued for their knowledge and skills, who were fleeing that country. A site was acquired for their anticipated arrival and was named New Geneva, after the country of origin of the new settlers. The Government believed that such body of skilled merchants would give impetus to trade and commerce in Waterford city and the nation. The experiment, however, failed and the building was subsequently used for military purposes, including the infamy of 1798.
    A famous architect was commissioned to draw up plans for the original town. Was it? A: John Roberts, B: James Gandon or C: Richard Cassells
  4. A saint is said to have to have come to the Hook from Wales in 452 AD and established a monastery on the site of the lighthouse. He is said to have lit the first warning beacon for ships shortly after his arrival. The beacon was maintained by the monks for seven hundred years until the lighthouse was built.
    What was he called? A: Dewi, B: Dyfrig or C: Dubhán
  5. What was the surname of the Arthur who built Dunbrody Park and the village of Arthurstown in the first quarter of the 1800s and provided the village with its name?
    Was it? A: Chichester, B: Rochester or C: Winchester
  6. Legend has it that the fleet of King Henry II, arriving in October 1171, numbered 600 ships and one of the merchants who donated to the flotilla was a Bristol merchant. He was handsomely rewarded with the granting of 7,000 acres of land centred in Faithlegg. This family ruled the area for five hundred years until they were dispossessed in 1649 by the armies of Oliver Cromwell.
    What was this family called? A: Aylward, B: Power or C: Devereux
  7. Duncannon Fort as it is to-day mostly dates from 1588, when it was constructed on a promontory in Waterford Harbour as a defence against an expected attack from the Spanish Armada. In 1645, Duncannon Fort was in control of Parliamentary Forces and Cromwell sent four ships to relieve the fort. The Confederates, who were besieging the fort, attacked the ships. Three of the ships managed to get away but the flagship was caught up in bad currents and tide and could not move. She came under heavy fire which broke her masts. She drifted out into the main channel where she sank on January 26th, 1645.
    The ship was called? A: Great Britain, B: Great Lewis or C: Great Eastern
  8. “Of shipwrecks and disasters we’ve read and seen a deal
    But now the coast of Wexford must tell a dreadful tale
    On the 4th day of January the wind in a gale did blow
    And four and twenty hands were lost of the Alfred D. Snow
    From the port of San Francisco she sailed across the main
    Bound for the port of Liverpool her cargo it was grain
    On a happy day she sailed away to cross the stormy foam
    There’s not a soul alive today to bring the tidings home.”
    The Snow was lost on the 4th of January in year? A: 1888, B: 1878 or C: 1898
  9. In the 1650s, the Loftus family, who were English Planters as part of the Cromwellian conquest were given what we now call Loftus Hall. What was the Hall called prior to that time?
    Was it? A: Hook Hall, B: Redmond Hallor C: Ely Hall
  10. In 1814, Dunmore was a small fishing village nestling in a sheltered cove, when it was chosen by the Post Office to be the Irish terminal of a new Mail Packet route from Milford Haven. The Post Office engaged an Engineer, called Alexander Nimmo, to design and build the new harbour.
    Where was Nimmo born? A: Wales, B: England or C: Scotland
  11. According to local tradition, a track steeped in legend runs from the ‘Forty Steps’ at Creadan Head to Fornaght beach and from there on over Knockavelish to Harristown Hill where a late Neolithic passage grave crowns the hilltop.
    One popular interpretation makes it a slave route or possibly likely to be a smugglers route or even a ceremonial route linking Creadan Head to the Harristown passage grave.
    What is the track called? A: Bóithrín na mBan Gorm, B: Bóithrín na mBan Buí or C: Bóithrín na mBan Bán
  12. Having served as a major in the Royal Marines during the Second World War, Major Cholmeley-Harrison moved to Ireland in 1945 and bought Woodstown House, a Regency villa. It was previously the home of Lady Carew, who had been at the Duchess of Richmond’s celebrated ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo and lived until 1903.
    In the summer of what year did Cholmeley-Harrison rent Woodstown to Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated US president?
    Was it: A: 1965, B: 1967 or C: 1969
  13. On August 23, 1170, ‘Strongbow’ landed at Passage with at least 200 knights and 1,000 soldiers.
    What was Strongbow’s real name? Was it? A: Raymond Fitzgerald, B: Miles De Cogan or C: Richard De Clare
  14. In what year was the Barrow Bridge opened to connect Waterford to the newly developed port of Rosslare by rail?
    Stretching from Co Kilkenny to Co Wexford, where the Suir, Barrow and Nore meet, it is 2,131 feet in length and up to the 1990s was the longest railway viaduct in the country.
    Was it? A: 1896, B: 1906 or C: 1916

And so for the answers via David Carroll. Over to you David:

  Q   Answer
  1   A: Knights Hospitallers of St John  
  2   B: Earl of Sandwich  
  3   B: James Gandon  
  4   C: Dubhán  
  5   A:  Chichester  
  6   A: Aylward  
  7   B: Great Lewis  
    8     A: 1888
  9   B: Redmond Hall  
  10   C: Scotland
  11   A: Bóithrín na mBan Gorm  
  12     B: 1967
  13   C: Richard De Clare
  14         B: 1906  

Thank you to everyone who took part in the quiz.  I hope that you found it interesting and that it helped pass some time during these unusual times.

Thank you for all the comments that were posted.

I hope that many of you learned something new about the wonderful heritage and history of Waterford Harbour that Andrew brings to is each day through his social media platforms.

For anyone new, perhaps, to ‘Waterford Harbour’, I hope you interest has been whetted and that you curiosity will encourage to read and research more into the wonderful heritage and history that we are privileged to enjoy.

  1. Ballyhack Castle is thought to have been built c 1450 by which great military order?

        A: Knights Hospitallers of St John

“Ballyhack Castle is a large tower house thought to have been built c. 1450 by the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, one of the two great military orders founded at the beginning of the 12th century at the time of the Crusades.”

https://www.discoverireland.ie/Arts-Culture-Heritage/ballyhack-castle/442
  • Dollar Bay acquired its name from a cargo of 250 sacks of Spanish milled gold dollars, ingots and gold dust that were buried there by pirates in 1765. The ship from which it was stolen had departed from Tenerife, in the Canaries, for passage to London.

                                        B: Earl of Sandwich

http://tramoreshippwrecks.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-earl-of-sandwich-30-november-1765.html
  • “At Geneva Barracks that young man died
    And at Passage they have his body laid
    Good people who live in peace and joy
    Breathe a prayer, shed a tear for the Croppy Boy”

Originally built to accommodate Swiss artisans, valued for their knowledge and skills, who were fleeing that country. A site was acquired for their anticipated arrival and was named New Geneva, after the country of origin of the new settlers. The Government believed that such body of skilled merchants would give impetus to trade and commerce in Waterford city and the nation. The experiment, however, failed and the building was subsequently used for military purposes, including the infamy of 1798.

A famous architect was commissioned to draw up plans for the original town.

                                        B: James Gandon

“New Geneva Barracks was identified as the proposed site for a planned colony for artisan and intellectual Genevan settlers, who had become refugees following a failed rebellion against a French and Swiss government in the city. Ireland had been granted a parliament separate from London in 1782 and it was thought that the creation of the colony would stimulate new economic trade with the continent. James Gandon, who designed the Custom House, was commissioned to create a masterplan for the site overlooking the Waterford Estuary. The plans for the colony eventually collapsed, however, when the Genevans insisted that they should be represented in the Irish parliament but govern themselves under their own Genevan laws. It then became a barracks following the United Irishmen Rebellion in 1798.”                 

https://www.antaisce.org/buildingsatrisk/new-geneva-barracks-passage-east

Watch Catherine Foley read from her book:

  • A saint is said to have to have come to the Hook from Wales in 452 AD and established a monastery on the site of the lighthouse. He is said to have lit the first warning beacon for ships shortly after his arrival. The beacon was maintained by the monks for seven hundred years until the lighthouse was built.

                                                C: Dubhán


“Saint Dubhán is said to have lit the first warning beacon for ships at Hook Head shortly after his arrival. This beacon was maintained by the monks for 700 years until the lighthouse was built.

Saint Dubhán built a church and soon the whole peninsula was known as Rinn Dubháin. The name Dubhán can be translated into English as a ‘fishing hook’ and so, it is said, the peninsula became known as Hook Head.”

http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2019/03/saint-dubhan-and-hook-church-are-part.html
  • What was the surname of the Arthur who built Dunbrody Park and the village of Arthurstown in the first quarter of the 1800s and provided the village with its name?

         A:  Chichester

“During the first quarter of the 1800s, Arthur Chichester built the estate village of Arthurstown on the Dundrody estate which became a focal point for the surrounding areas. The village had a hospital, a coast guard station, a police barracks and a courthouse. The pier in Arthurstown was built in 1829.”

  • Legend has it that the fleet of King Henry II, arriving in October 1171, numbered 600 ships and one of the merchants who donated to the flotilla was a Bristol merchant.  He was handsomely rewarded with the granting of 7,000 acres of land centred in Faithlegg. This family ruled the area for five hundred years until they were dispossessed in 1649 by the armies of Oliver Cromwell. 

                             A: Aylward

“A Norman named Strongbow landed in the harbour in 1170 and this was followed by the arrival of Henry II in October 1171.  Legend has it that Henry’s fleet numbered 600 ships and one of the merchants who donated to the flotilla was a Bristol merchant named Aylward.  He was handsomely rewarded with the granting of 7000 acres of land centred in Faithlegg. The family lived originally in a Motte and Baily enclosure the remains of which is still to be seen.  This was followed by Faithlegg Castle and the 13th century church in the grounds of the present Faithlegg church dates from their era too. The family ruled the area for 500 years until they were dispossessed in 1649 by the armies of Oliver Cromwell.  The property was subsequently granted to a Cromwellian solider, Captain William Bolton.”                            

https://www.faithlegg.com/history-of-faithlegg.html
  • Duncannon Fort as it is to-day mostly dates from 1588, when it was constructed on a promontory in Waterford Harbour as a defence against an expected attack from the Spanish Armada.

In 1645, Duncannon Fort was in control of Parliamentary Forces and Cromwell sent four ships to relieve the fort.  The Confederates, who were besieging the fort, attacked the ships.  Three of the ships managed to get away but the flagship was caught up in bad currents and tide and could not move.  She came under heavy fire which broke her masts.  She drifted out into the main channel where she sank on January 26th, 1645.

                                    B: Great Lewis

    https://russianside.blogspot.com/2018/05/duncannon-siege.html                             http://www.waterfordinyourpocket.com/the-great-lewis/

  • “Of shipwrecks and disasters we’ve read and seen a deal
    But now the coast of Wexford must tell a dreadful tale
    On the 4th day of January the wind in a gale did blow
    And four and twenty hands were lost of the Alfred D. Snow

From the port of San Francisco she sailed across the main
Bound for the port of Liverpool her cargo it was grain
On a happy day she sailed away to cross the stormy foam
There’s not a soul alive today to bring the tidings home.”

        The Alfred D Snow was lost on the 4th of January in what year?

                                        A: 1888

  • In the 1650s, the Loftus family, who were English Planters as part of the Cromwellian conquest were given what we now call Loftus Hall. What was the Hall called prior to that time?

                                        B: Redmond Hall

https://www.loftushall.ie/about
  1. In 1814, Dunmore was a small fishing village nestling in a sheltered cove, when it was chosen by the Post Office to be the Irish terminal of a new Mail Packet route from Milford Haven. The Post Office engaged an Engineer, called Alexander Nimmo, to design and build the new harbour.

Where was Nimmo born?

                                       C: Scotland

  1. According to local tradition, a track steeped in legend runs from the ‘Forty Steps’ at Creadan Head to Fornaght beach and from there on over Knockavelish to Harristown Hill where a late Neolithic passage grave crowns the hilltop.

One popular interpretation makes it a slave route or possibly likely to be a smugglers route or even a ceremonial route linking Creadan Head to the Harristown passage grave.  

What is the track called?

                                A: Bóithrín na mBan Gorm

  1. Having served as a major in the Royal Marines during the Second World War, Major Cholmeley-Harrison moved to Ireland in 1945 and bought Woodstown House, a Regency villa. It was previously the home of Lady Carew, who had been at the Duchess of Richmond’s celebrated ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo and lived until 1903.

In the summer of what year did Cholmeley-Harrison rent Woodstown to Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated US president?

                                        B: 1967

13.    On August 23, 1170, ‘Strongbow’ landed at Passage with at least 200 knights and 1,000 soldiers.

What was Strongbow’s real name?        

                                        C: Richard De Clare

https://www.libraryireland.com/biography/RichardDeClareStrongbow.php
  1. In what year was the Barrow Bridge opened to connect Waterford to the newly developed port of Rosslare by rail?

Stretching from Co Kilkenny to Co Wexford, where the Suir, Barrow and Nore meet, it is 2,131 feet in length and up to the 1990s was the longest railway viaduct in the country.

                               B: 1906

Recalling Geneva Barracks

Deena and myself have found many ways to endure the Covid 19 lockdown, good food, plenty of exercise and some other daily habits such as watching the 9pm news to be informed and remembering to keep in touch with family and friends to break the isolation. One daily ritual that has emerged specifically during the lock down is an evening reading by Catherine Foley from her book Beyond the Breakwater. A chapter each day as been a welcome distraction as is her witty, heartfelt and often melodious memories of life in the area that we call home. One that stood out was her reading of Geneva Barracks and the colour and drama of a sports day from the 1960’s held in the grounds there.

Catherine reads Chapter 15 – Geneva Barracks. Filmed by her sister RoseAnn

Now I always thought that Geneva Barracks must sound almost exotic to anyone who has never heard of its history. And the childhood memories of Catherine certainly paint a vibrant and dynamic community scene. I had never been to events there however, but It brought to mind recollections from the late 1970’s walking with others from Cheekpoint to Lynches farm at Parkswood and a newly mown field filled with stalls, people, animals, running races and all manner of entertainment.

Fintan Walsh explained to me yesterday by email, that events had a long association with the Barracks.  “Since the early part of the 20th century lots of sporting and musical activities took place there including Feis’s with singing and dancing, bands came out from Waterford, games of football  and hurling would be included, football between Dunmore  and Wexford teams, between Passage and Kilkenny teams and billed as Inter Provincial games.  My father told me these would be packed from all over the South East.  When Passage Hurling club was formed in 1935 they used Geneva for most of their matches until 1950 or so and Gaultier also used it for football games.  In the 1940’s Passage Hurling Club organised sports with many events there.  I remember being in Geneva for horse racing in the late 1940’s, I remember a Passage youth riding a horse called Movita. Woodstown played many soccer games there in the fifties.  The sports you mention were organised by a local Parish Committee in the 60’s up to the very early 70’s.”

Catherine Foley with her mother at the sports day

Catherine also sings in that reading a song entitled “the Croppy Boy” a song synonymous with the 1798 rebellion and the dark side of Geneva Barracks – An Internment camp.  According to Jim Hegarty a fort had been established on the site in 1790.  He describes it as an enclosed 14 acre site surrounded by 18ft walls and with four look out bastions on the corners with gun loops.  A Chavaux-de-frise was built to guard the front entrance which was built to accommodate 1500 troops. 

A hand drawing of what the Barracks looked like

After the 1798 rebellion the Barracks was used as an internment camp where the conditions were described by one, Colonel Thomas Cloney, as “The filthiest and most damp and loathsome prison, devoid of any comfort.”   Abuse was frequent, torture, whippings and executions.  Those that survived had a few options, none of which were very pleasant.  Press ganged to the navy, service with the army or to face transportation for life to Australia or the West Indies. 

A few years back at a Barony of Gaultier walk in the area, Richard Corcoran explained that the troops stationed at the Barracks were despised in the area due to their viciousness and violence towards locals.  In fact many of the homes of that era didn’t have windows that opened onto the road, so common was it that troops would fire musket shot at homes.

the bottom left look out bastion (based on the sketch above) as it looks presently
South Facing wall today

Richard also explained how the prisoners were marched down the Passage Road under musket and bayonet guard to be filed onto ships at transhipped to Cork for deep sea ships and transportation.  Jim Hegarty mentions three different battalions of troops – The Devon and Cornwall Fencibles, the Dumbarton Highlanders and German Hessians. Paul M Kerrigan in Decies 28 remarks on a Royal Navy 64 gun ship named the Admiral de Vieres that arrived in Passage East in February of 1799 to provide escort to troops who were embarking from New Geneva for Ebgland aboard commercial sailing ships. No mention is made of the regiment however.

I could find little more about the barracks and its military use.  According to my cousin James Doherty  one of the reasons for the siting on the Barracks was that ‘…British authorities ( rightly as it would turn out ) feared that Ireland would be used as a stepping stone to Britain by the French, these fears became reality when the French landed in Bantry in 1796.  Earlier in the same year a senior British engineer had inspected the Irish defences and had commented on the strategic importance of Geneva Barracks but its lack of strength, Charles Vallancy noted ” Geneva only mounts two 12 pounder cannon ” and recommended the strengthening of the garrison.’

Obviously the insurrection of the united Irishmen of 1798 changed its focus.  But as James points out ‘…The battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and the complete defeat of the French Navy would see a move away from coastal defences with the military focusing towards  large central barracks in the population centres.”  According to Jim Hegarty plans were drawn up to convert it to a military hospital which never came to pass.  According to Patrick C Power it was abandoned in 1824.

But why the name Geneva Barracks?  Well that as they say is a whole other story but briefly it goes back to the year 1783 when the Irish Parliament of the time provided money towards the relocation of Swiss artisans to the Waterford harbour area.  The plan was a grande one which was to see the making of watches on the site, along with accommodation, a university and associated industries to support the work.  It came to nothing but I can’t help by think that the scene as captured by Catherine in her story and Fintan in his recollection gives a small indication of what could have been – a vibrant, bustling and lively location filled with drama, laughter and shouts of joy. 

  • References used:
  • Jim Hegarty. Time and Tide.  A short history of Passage East
  • Catherine Foley. Beyond the Breakwater. Mercier Press
  • Decies #28 Spring 1985. Paul M Kerrigan. P 5
  • Patrick C Power. History of Waterford City & County. 1998, Dungarvan

For the readings by Catherine Foley you can use this link to RoseAnn Foleys You Tube Channel. You can also subscribe for notification of the daily uploads . And she can be contacted for copies of her book by email to: catherinefol@gmail.com
The book costs €15 and the postage is added to that – in Ireland it is €3.40. It’s €5.70 to the UK and it’s €7 to Australia.