S.S. Macuto: The Dunmore East connections. A recollection from the summer of 1960

I offer a platform for anyone who wants to write about Waterford harbour on the last Friday of each month.  This month David Carroll joins us with a tale of ships and people from the port in 1960 and his experience of the impounded vessel the SS Macuto and how it featured in his life at the time.  I hope you enjoy it.

An image spotted while recently looking through Michael Power’s interesting book ‘Tales from the River Suir’, brought back memories of the S.S. Macuto, a ship that became famous, or maybe that should read ‘infamous’, in the Port of Waterford during my summer school holidays in 1960.

For the months of July and August in that year, the S.S. Macuto became a big news story in Waterford and further afield. For most of that time, the ship was under arrest, with a writ nailed to her mast. Port and pilot dues were owing to Waterford Harbour Commissioners. The crew had not received payment for several weeks and a cargo of maize for R. & H. Hall Ltd., Ferrybank was in dispute due to damage from a leaking oil or water pipe on its voyage from Chicago, through the Great Lakes and arriving in Waterford on July 2nd 1960.
In Dunmore East, we listened for the gossip emanating from the city and we read the local papers avidly each week to update ourselves on the progress of the various legal difficulties being resolved. The ship was later to play a part in the enjoyment of my summer holidays and the operation of one of Dunmore’s leading hotels but to learn about these stories; you will need to continue reading.
Meanwhile, the S.S. Macuto became almost a tourist attraction, as the old-fashioned steamer remained moored on her berth in Waterford. Many people wondered as to how this ‘old rust bucket’ had successfully got through the Great Lakes and crossed the Atlantic let alone sailed up the River Suir to Waterford Port. The S.S. Macuto was built in 1918 in Oakland, California. Governor John Lind was the original name and was 3,431 tons. The ship had a succession of different names and changes of ownership until finally sold in 1960 to the Seaforth Navigation Corporation and renamed S.S. Macuto.
The voyage to Waterford was her first voyage under this name and new owners and the first-time sailing under the flag of Panama. This was very much a ‘flag of convenience’ as a small number of countries such as Panama did not adhere to normal shipping regulations with abuses very prevalent. The aged and decrepit S.S. Macuto was therefore ‘always and accident waiting to happen’. The crew of 23 were all Greek nationals and despite being owed wages by the owners, managed the have a good time during their stay in Waterford. The Munster Express later described the members of the crew as ‘becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves’.
On arrival, following the initial arrest and legal wrangles, Captain Trimis seemed puzzled and was reported to have said, “I do not know how this happened, it my first visit to Ireland”. Interestingly, the Munster Express reported later in the middle of August that the same Captain Trimis, driving a hired-car, was involved in a minor road accident in Tramore where luckily no one was injured, only a small amount of damage caused to the two cars.
S.S. Macuto at Waterford port, 8th August 1960: Shortall Collection © A.Kelly
Wednesday August 24th 1960, the night that the ship finally left port, has become the stuff of legends. At this stage, the legal matters had been more or less determined. The outcome was an order that the ship be sold and to set sail for Cork, where it was to be fitted with a new compass before final departure to La Speiza in Italy to be scrapped. Even in 1971, eleven years after her final voyage from Waterford, the Munster Express shipping correspondent recalled the scene: He reported: “The night of her departure was one of the most exciting ever witnessed in the port. After much delay and lofty voluntaries on the steam siren the crew were shepherded aboard – one finally made it at Dunmore or did he have to go by car to Cobh where she sailed to have her compass adjusted? At one point, Pilot Tom Furlong left the bridge to consult ashore with Captain Farrell on the advisability of sailing – time, tide and the pilot’s patience had all been running out.”
I’ve written previously about Dunmore East being a wonderful place to grow up in the 1950s and early 1960s. There were endless games of tennis, cricket and soccer in the park apart from the brilliant natural facilities that the harbour and all the small coves and beaches provided for swimming, sailing, rowing and fishing. Summer school holidays were a brilliant time and the best day of all, in my opinion, was the annual Regatta Day. Regatta Day was a day on which visiting families to Dunmore, who came each year to stay and enjoy the facilities that the village offered, and local fishermen who made their living from the sea came together with the entire community for a day of competition and fun. A large gathering of spectators would take place on the ‘Island’, a rocky outcrop that was part of the harbour in those days, which was accessed by an archway from the end of Island Lane.
The regatta was a very traditional event, like ones held in other coastal communities. Bob Desmond of the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society kindly gave me a press cutting from 1962, which was the centenary celebration of the Dunmore East Regatta. That would make 1960 to be the 98th one held. Apart from sailing, swimming, rowing and outboard motor races, there was also a series of novelty events such as ‘the duck hunt’, ‘greasy-pole’, model yacht race and the one that I always liked the best, the fancy dress parade. On Regatta Day, the national flag was flown on the flagpole in our garden at the harbour and all yachts in the harbour would be dressed with flags for the occasion.
For the 1960 regatta, it was real ‘no-brainer’ as far as I was concerned, I would enter the fancy dress parade as ‘S.S. Macuto’. A fair bit of imagination was required to make my small yellow-painted rowing boat ‘Turmoil’ resemble anything like the decrepit old steamer that was in Waterford all summer. However, with help from John Murphy, we set about the task. Fish boxes, painted brown, were a great source of material to make the upper hull and bridge. The flag of Panama was made from cardboard, red and blue paint. I still await, all these years later for this flag to come up in a Table Quiz! Paint tin lids were used to make the portholes and an empty paint tin formed the top of the funnel, where there would be real smoke. We found that old fishing net burned really well and gave off lots of smoke, which we believed would give us an edge on the day over other competitors. Dress rehearsals went very well, with plenty of smoke coming from practice sessions on dry land. Unfortunately, on the day, things did go quite as well. The old netting probably got a bit damp and not too much smoke was seen around the harbour, much to our disappointment. However, as they say, the taking part matters. We certainly had lots of fun dressing up as Greek sailors and pretending to be the S.S. Macuto.
Incidentally, August 1960 must have had some nasty bad weather as the regatta was finally held on Thursday August 25th, (the day after the S.S. Macuto set sail from Waterford) after three earlier cancellations. Thursday was the traditional half-day in Waterford and holding the regatta on that day would have been the best alternative to a Sunday. After that, there were just a few short days remaining for me before it was time to pack my school bag and start my secondary school education in Waterford.
The Haven Hotel in the 1960s with thanks to Waterford Co Museum

The Dunmore East Regatta was not the only Dunmore connection to the S.S. Macuto. Dick Ballintine and his wife Honor were still owners and successfully managing The Haven Hotel in Dunmore in 1960. The Kelly family did not arrive until a few years later. The Haven had originally been called Villa Marina (that name can still be seen on the wall at the entrance with steps opposite the park) and was one time the summer residence of the Malcolmson family of the Portlaw Cotton Industry and Shipbuilding fame in Waterford. The Ballintines had bought the property in the late 1940’s and turned it into a thriving and popular hotel. Dick Ballintine was an innovative person, a man before his time and saw a terrific opportunity in pre-twitter times to publicise his hotel.

He managed, somehow, to get a painter, or maybe a group of them to paint “Drop anchor at the Haven Hotel” in large white letters on the side of the ship when it was finally berthed near the Mall. Unfortunately, someone rumbled the plan and the Customs Officers stepped in and disallowed the project. For a brief period, the words “Anchor a…” appeared on the side of the ship before being blanked out by black paint and being another chapter in the story of the S.S. Macuto on her stay of notoriety in Waterford.
Finally, returning to the Dunmore East Regatta of 1960, there is a lovely connection with the events of last August (2017) when Dunmore East celebrated Friend or Foe in brilliant fashion. This event commemorated the brave rescue by three young fishermen, Jack McGrath and the brothers Tom and Patsy Power of Kapitan Kurt Tebbenjohanns, commander and only survivor from German mine-laying submarine UC44 that sank in Waterford Harbour in August 1917.
A flavor of the scene; Regatta day Dunmore East 25th August 1938, © Brendan Grogan

The record of winners from the Regatta of the various events as listed in the Munster Express of August 26th1960, show that Thomas McGrath won the Model Yacht Race. Thomas was a nephew of Jack McGrath and John Martin, a nephew of the Power Brothers, won the Open Pair-Oar Rowing Race, rowing with Billy Power. Another successful contestant in the various rowing races was John Aylward, who later went on to become a well-known figure in the Waterford licenced trade.

I would like to thank Andrew for his invitation to me to contribute to Waterford Harbour Tide ‘n’ Tales again. It is a privilege to be a small part of Andrew’s mission to celebrate and preserve the rich maritime heritage of Waterford Harbour. Gratitude is also due to Andy Kelly for his kind permission to use the image of the S.S. Macuto and to the library staff at the Central Library, Lady Lane in Waterford for allowing access to old copies of the Munster Express on-line. I also received valuable assistance form Brian Ellis, Honorary Librarian at National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire.

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Cheekpoint Castle

I recently confirmed something, that I had previously only suspected.  That there were two Motte and Bailey castles in the area of Cheekpoint dating to the Norman conquest.  One we know for certain was on the land of Phil Gough in Faithlegg.  The other however is a matter of conjecture on my part.

Firstly the confirmation.  It comes from no greater source that Canon Power of the Placenames of the Déise fame.  In this case however, it is a lesser know publication(1) that I came across in the county archives in Dungarvan.  The book was written as a support to national school teachers and in it he is definitive: “The timber crowned motes, or bretasches, were succeded in a short time by stone castles, but examples of the mote may still be seen at Cheekpoint, Faithlegg, Killure (near Tramore) Tybroghney, Feddins, Dungarvan, Pembrokestown, Ring, Lismore, Garryduff(near Youghal etc)” I’ve included the entire list, in case it might be useful to others.

The Mount Tower 1960s, note the small hill surrounding it
The difficulty this poses however is that I have never heard any folk memory of a castle in the village. To be honest I take this more seriously than the lack of evidence in any of the history books that have been written. Its not in the inventory of historic sites, there is no indication of such in the Down Survey map of the area, there is nothing that I can lay claim on that would back this up. But Canon Power is definitive. Where, however, was it most likely to be?
Maybe Dr Niall Byrne’s book on the Irish Crusades(2) gives a clue. In it he gives the following reference to Cheekpoint and its strategic importance.  “…in the winter of 1171-2 Henry II granted the lands of Faithleg (sic) to Ailward Juvenis…the first known royal grant in the Waterford area. Situated on the southern side of the junction of the three rivers…on the hill above the present Cheekpoint, this strategic location allowed the observation and inspection of all traffic entering or leaving these major waterways.”  Mr Byrne is now deceased, so unfortunately I cannot ask him for extra clarity or his opinion on this.
Now the automatic assumption is possibly that any castle or fort must have been on the Minaun. However, I disagree, and I dwell on the word Inspection. Surely any inspection of ships required a building or a position closer to the rivers?  Although we know that Passage would ultimately take on this duty, was there a suitable site at Cheekpoint that allowed for observation and inspection?

The tower in the 1950s from the river.

Further to this criteria, you might expect a Motte and Bailey site to be elevated.  The only such site I am aware of in the village is the present site of what we know locally as the Mount Tower.

The tower is on a small mound, certainly nothing compared to the Faithlegg site, but unlike the Faithlegg site, it has been used for other purposes.  According to local tradition the present building is a folly, attached to a previously sited Georgian house which was knocked in the 1950s. It was certainly a fine location for such a building, although its quite an elaborate build, including fireplaces on both floors and presumably an internal stairs.  I had speculated previously that it may have had a signalling purpose, something that as a theory has some merit, but as yet little by way of proof.  James Doherty has provided evidence(3) that the site was the location of a battery as early as the 1600’s and it was certainly a vantage point and had a military presence during the Napoleonic wars.

Although now surrounded by trees and undergrowth, this may give a sense of its
strategic value looking directly across at Great Island
The view from the door of the Mount Tower, looking NW,
including Cheekpoint and meeting of the Three Sisters
Another question that seems obvious, and again something I have long searched for, is some tie in between the village and the vikings. Simon Dowling has previously written a very interesting blog on the Faithlegg Motte. In it he mentions the following: “There is a reference that an Ostman by the name of Reginald Macgillemory had a stronghold in this area known as Renaudescastel in 1171. A record of a court case in 1311 [2] refers to this individual as a rich and powerful man in county Waterford, and places this stronghold on the opposite bank of the River Suir to Dunbrody, and therefore within the same region as Faithlegg. In 1311 the only remnants of Renaudescastle was an ‘old deserted moat’ …”  It certainly begs the question that perhaps the deserted motte was in fact at Cheekpoint, which accurately could be described as a location lying on the “opposite bank” to Dunbrody.

Is it possible then that the Mount Tower folly far from being, in design, a figment of someones imagination, was in fact an attempt to locate a symbolic recreation of a previous fort and/or castle? Its certainly possible. Sometimes all we can do in these situations is to pose a working hypothesis in the hope of either proving or disproving it. Until more facts come to light I believe it is the most logical site for such a building in the area. Its strategically relevant and useful, its located on an easily defended outcrop, the site is already elevated naturally and there is evidence of a mound, and the area has seen significant developments which may have altered or reduced the evidence. If anyone had extra information or theories I would be delighted to hear it either in the comments box or by my other social media options.

I’d like to thanks Joanne Rothwell, Waterford County Archivist who gave me so much of her time recently when checking materials for this story.  Also James Doherty for allowing me bend his ear and passing on information.

(1) Rev P.Power.  A Short History of County Waterford.  1933.   The Waterford News, Ltd.
(2) Byrne. N. The Irish Crusade.  2007.  Linden. Dublin
(3) McEnery, J.H. Fortress Ireland, The story of the Irish Coastal Forts and River Shannon Defense Line.  2006. Wordwell. Dublin

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Remembering the crew of the Alfred D Snow

Last Sunday there was an understated but very fitting memorial ceremony for the crew of the sailing ship, Alfred D Snow. The ship grounded in Waterford Harbour on January 3rd 1888 and all 29 crew aboard were drowned. The memory of the tragedy lives on however, on both sides of the harbour. And Sundays ceremony saw the great great grand daughter of her captain lay a wreath in memory of the crew. 
image courtesy of Andrew Kelly
The Alfred D Snow was a three masted fully rigged all timber ship which was built in the Samuel Watts shipbuilding yard in Maine USA.  She was 232 feet long with a beam of 42 feet.  She departed San Francisco on Aug 30th 1887 bound for Liverpool with a cargo of wheat under Captain William J Wiley. On that trip was his 18 year old nephew, John. Approaching the Irish coast she encountered a storm and had to try find shelter in Waterford Harbour.  However the ship struck the bottom close to Broomhill in Co Wexford and got stuck fast.  Heeling over, the waves crashing aboard, the ships boats were launched with some difficulty and one managed to make it away but it was swamped and all aboard were drowned. The remaining crew took to the rigging in the hopes of salvation, which never arrived. In total all 29 crew died, mostly American but also men from England, France, Germany, Norway and Russia.  
During the days that followed the captains body was recovered and was shipped home for burial in a lead lined, brandy filled casket. Other crew men were interred in Ballyhack, but most were never found. Pieces of the wreck floated in all along the harbour.  These were secured by the coastguard apparently and were auctioned off. Timbers were used in the making of the Strand Tavern in Duncannon, the bar of the Ocean Hotel in Dunmore, now the Three Sisters.  They were also used in house construction throughout the harbour and I believe a table from the ship was taken from the tide by a Cheekpoint fishing family and for many years after had pride of place in the living room.  One of the more interesting artifacts that was salvaged was the ships figure head.  It was for many years the property of Capt. Richard Farrell, former Harbour Master of Waterford and it stood in his front garden. I understand it was sold during the 1980’s to a London antiques dealer.
Photo courtesy of Brendan Grogan
Following an earlier account that my wife Deena wrote, Betsy White, a direct descendant of the ships captain and his nephew, sent an email seeking more information on the area and the events.  Betsy was planning a trip to Ireland and was trying to locate the various placenames associated with the story. Over the space of a year we exchanged many emails and photographs creating a clearer picture for Betsy and helping in some way in her planning of the trip.  The highlight for me last week was to finally meet her and to witness her lay a wreath in memory of all those who died.
Betsy White with Jim FitzGibbon of Slade following the wreath laying
The captain’s last resting place
photo courtesy of Betsy White
According to Betsy, the only way the captain was actually identified was because of a ring he was wearing. (Betsy also informed me that the ships carpenter was also returned home to be buried, he was identified by a measuring stick found in his pocket). She also told us that the trip was to be the captains last.  It was undertaken to pay for a new home.  He was interred in his home town of Thomaston, Maine and his wife Cordelia is buried with him having died in 1913. The ship and her crew are still remembered today by the Thomaston Historical Society and here’s hoping the same will be said in our own harbour for many years to come. 

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.
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Passage East Fish house

The Passage East fish house stands today as part of the local community centre.  It was once the actual centre of the community however, processing at one point over 38,000 herring per day and providing a vital outlet for fishermen and onshore employment too.
As a regular shopper in the Ardkeen stores, I occasionally treat myself to a breakfast of kippers.  I grew up with a taste for this nutritious fish, but I have to admit, that I could never eat them in any way other than kippered.  In my youth there was many a home had a kippering barrel and the smell of the fish being smoked was almost as memorable as the taste.  Of course the technique was long used for fish, and none more so than in my neighbouring village of Passage East.
The story of the Passage East fish house’s origins appears to rest with a man named Kirby. The gentleman wrote to the traders in the Billingsgate market pleading the case for the local fishermen, and explaining that although there were significant catches of fish in the area, there was little by way of a market.
One of those trading merchants, John L Sayers Ltd., dispatched one of their buyers to investigate. Arthur Miller was then employed on the north west coast and was suitably impressed with what he saw, to recommend a fish house be built, specifically to smoke herring (another was built in Dunmore East). Land was leased from the Marquis of Waterford in what was known as the park and a fish house was constructed.
On the death of John L Sayer in 1910, Miller went into business for himself, trading in the kippering business as Arthur Miller Selected Kippers.  The products were not limited to kippers however, as red herring, bloaters and cured herring were also processed.

Photo of the women at work in Passage in the 1920s
accessed from the book, Shadows of the Past
with permission of Andy Kelly

The work initially required skilled labour to be employed, and “Herring Lassies” amongst other skills arrived from Scotland to prepare the herring for the process.  Many of the families in the Passage and Crooke area to this day are descended from these hard working immigrants.  Here’s a 1920’s video of these women at work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhbtSHfbLYs

The fish house was also used as a trading post for the buying and distribution of other fish including salmon, lobster, mackerel, shellfish and intriguingly, to me anyway, Newfoundland dried cod.  Boxes of fish were regularly transported along the road by horse and cart initially, and then truck to Waterford train station and hence to Dublin, London or the continent. The trade continued up to the death of Miller in 1953, and although the family continued with the trade for some more years, tastes and markets changed and the business finally closed.
Today the fish house remains as a reminder of that once busy and lucrative trade that created wealth both onshore and off.  Much of the process of smoking is still intact and it would be wonderful to think that at some point in the future it may be rekindled.  Of course Ballyhack Smoke House  is now operating on the opposite side of the harbour, so at least the techniques are far from extinct.

My blog today is based on details accessed from The Irish Herring Industry – One Family’s Story by Arthur E Neiland, a descendant of Arthur Miller.  I accessed the piece in a collection of local information which is based at Dunmore East public library and was donated by the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society.

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.
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All Ireland Sunday – Getting to the match

Sunday 7th September 2008 dawned bright and clear.  A good day for a trip, and a good day for a match.  Waterford were to meet Kilkenny in the All Ireland Hurling final and expectations were high. It had got off to a slow start, with some controversy but had improved as the summer went on.  My wife, Deena had been to almost every match with our son Joel and our eldest daughter Hannah and they had even featured on the Sunday Game in Thurles, and been spotted as far away as America, Dubai and Australia. But that Sunday she was journeying back from a wedding in Barcelona, the family car sitting at Cork Airport for her return.  So it fell to me to get our son Joel to the match at Dublin’s Croke Park, having been blessed to get two tickets for Hill 16 towards the latter end of the previous week.
As we hadn’t got the tickets until late in the week the buses were sold out, as was the special event train.  Luckily a neighbour, Ray McGrath, was planning to go and he proposed we journey with him. We set off bright and early with the intention of getting the train from Wexford.  But as we drove into Passage East to take the car ferry across, something was very amiss.  The ferry was tied up at the quayside and there was not a crew man in sight.  We wondered if we were too early, but with time ticking, Ray spun his battered Ford around and hurtled out of the village and up the new line.  It might have been considered an ill-advised speed on any other occasion,  what with the age of the car, and the condition of the roads, but not on All Ireland Sunday.
Hannah and Joel enjoying a feed of Ballybricken Ribs
photo via Dylan Bible/Amanda Farady
By New Ross a new plan had formed.  As we were this far, why not head to Enniscorthy and board there.  Less of a drive, and we’d be quicker home.  Arriving into the station, we got a bit of a start. There was no one else there.  Dark thoughts started to enter the mind, but no words were spoken.  
Five minutes later the first of a flood of cars arrived, and with it a lift in our mood and some lively banter.  But it was not to last.  A Kilkenny man, they were mostly black and amber about us, caused some upset when he queried if we had booked our tickets.  Of course we hadn’t and shur why would we.  Then the cutting line…”shur everyone knows to book the Wexford Train on All Ireland Sunday”. Everyone who is used to heading to the All Ireland that is.  The unspoken implication not missed by any of the assembled Déise.
When the sound of the train was heard there was a surge of people towards the platform, but the Station Master appeared magically from out of the building, raising a commanding hand, and asking for ticket holders only.  Ray turned to me and Joel and winking conspiratorially said “play along”. Grabbing Joel by the collar he turned and propelling him forward like some shield for protection he drove through to the official.  Words were exchanged, but no movement was allowed. No ticket, no train. With this Ray launched into an impassioned oration.  Reminding the official that this ad hoc rule was no where to be found on the CIE website, and that this lus non scriptum was tantamount to an attack on our rights as citizens.  At this I perceived a marked thawing in the official. But Ray was only warming himself up and it was followed with a short and emotional recounting of his view from his fathers shoulders of the 1959 match.  With this he wheeled round to the gathering, and as if drawing encouragement and energy from the group he returned his forceful gaze to the official and went for the kill.  “Would you…” addressing the station master, “be the one to deny me the opportunity to allow my son…”, turning to me “and my grandson…” lifting Joel up of the ground, “to see Waterford play, and they having journeyed 3000 miles from Canada to see the All Ireland final”.
the match programme of the day
via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_All-Ireland_Senior
Even the Kilkenny lads could see the injustice in this, albeit completely fictitious, account. The official crumpled to the sight of Joel looking him square in the eye, and the rousing cheer of the assembled crowd, or maybe it was just that so many ticket holders were being held up by the melee. Whatever it was, he stepped aside and we rushed through and were soon having tea and sandwiches looking out on the lapping waves of the Irish sea and we sped northwards.  Joel’s only complaint being that if he was with his uncle Dylan on the special event train from Waterford he’d be eating Ballybricken Ribs
If we thought that was to be the end of it, we were in for more.  Having stopped in Wicklow station, we noticed little to concern us for the first five minutes.  Spirits were good., company was fine and we were in plenty of time for the match.  After ten minutes some of the Kilkenny lads were getting a bit irritated. They had a minor final to get to as well, and wanted to be in plenty of time.  The passing ticket collector was engaged, and he replied that it was nothing just some essential maintenance. Fifteen minutes and some of the Kilkenny lads were up and off, pacing along the platform, voices raised and anxiously glancing up the line.  Not long after the fist taxis started to arrive and we stopped the ticket collector again, and again we got the standard line.  However, he was hurrying forward and it was said over a quickly retreating shoulder, running it appeared for the safety of the engine house.
When we eventually wandered out, doors were open up and down the train, and many of the carraiges were empty.  There was not an official in sight and all manner of rumour was running.  A mini bus arrived and a group of Kilkenny supporters piled in.  In answer to what was going on another chap said the kilkenny lads had already got every taxi in town, and probably any available mini bus as well.  Phone calls were made, CIE seemed to be taking the day off.  Someone wandered down the town to see if they could find out what was going on.  A few of us went up to the engine, and there the driver sat, at his idle controls and threw his eyes and hands up to heaven.  Nothing he could do he said, there was essential maintence going on on the line outside of town and he could not move until the signal turned.
Next the station master arrived.  He could not confirm the train would be leaving any time soon, and was rounded on by over 150 fans looking for reassurance they were going to see the match.  He mumbled about seeing what he could do, then turned on his heels and disappeared.  More time passed and at this stage it was common knowledge that there was not a taxi or mini bus to be had in the town. We were less than an hour from throw in and some said we may as well head to the pub at least we might get a seat there.
One of the iconic images after the match
accessed from http://www.hoganstand.com/ArticleForm.aspx?ID=115948
Finally that official re-emerged from the safety of his building.  With great fanfare he announced that CIE had managed somehow, to secure buses to take us to the match.  Gardí were alerted, and we could be waved through all the major junctions, we could also expect a Garda escort.  Cheers went up when the first bus pulled up, and finally we were back on the move.
You might think that after all that, you would have to expect a happy ending.  But the hopes of all the Déise, and the vast majority of neutrals, were to be dashed later that day.  A sad day for the fans, but a horrible day for the Waterford players on the field.  Here’s hoping this Sundays team have better luck. Déise Abú
I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.
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