Christmas in Aylwardstown

The last guest blog of 2018 comes from the River Barrow and brings us back to simpler times in the company of the Connollys of Aylwardstown via the pen of Brian Forristal. The area of Aylwardstown is beside the river Barrow close to Glenmore on the Kilkenny side and Tommy was well known in Cheekpoint as a builder and repairer of the distinctive local boat the Prong. Brian like myself was raised around the river and has a deep appreciation of it and the people who lived upon it. I loved this account and I believe you will too.

Tommy realised as he looked to the north east that there was snow on the wind and it was blowing savagely down an angry River Barrow.  He knew that there was a lot of work to be done before Christmas arrived and the last thing he needed was a blizzard of snow to delay him.

That Christmas tree he had seen last week in Graiguenakill, softly nestled in a grove of larch wood needed chopping before anyone else cast their eye on it.  A splendid specimen, not too tall so as to fit into the kitchen of the cottage nicely, and not too broad as to impinge on the tight space near the dresser.   He had better go soon and cut it down for he had to drag it back to Aylwardstown across the fields as he did not want anyone else to see him take it out of the larch wood.

That was one of the pre Christmas jobs to be done, another was to kill the goose he kept on the commons and had been fattening for the previous months. Extra kindling had to be brought in, in case the weather took a turn for the worst, which meant dragging it from the cutting shed situated just north of the cottage on the river bank.  Country cottages were always adorned with holly and ivy for the festive season and gave a natural feel of the outdoors, indoors; this had to be gathered from the surrounding fields.

The late Tommy Connolly, Photo by Brian Forristal

He dallied about which to do first and after much soul searching decided to go after the tree, that was the one that could not wait, all the rest would still be here when he got back.

He informed Molly that he was heading for Graiguenakill to cut the Christmas tree and would be gone for a few hours.  She asked him would he be back for his dinner at 11 o’clock and he said he would, seeing it was only 8am, he thought he had plenty of time to get there and back.

Gathering an axe from his shed he headed along the road as far as the railway tracks and cut into the fields that ran behind kelly’s big house, then veering right in the direction of Carrigcloney until he met the road that ran back to the river.  Moving on north west from here he cut across the large stubble field behind Killivory/Kilmokevoge ruined church, he was now in sight of the glen where the larch wood was.  He crossed the stream at the end of the gorge and climbed the winding lane that led through the larch wood.  About half way up this lane and in behind the first few lines of larch stood the tree that Tommy had eyed up weeks before.  Taking off the rope that he had carried around his shoulder, he firmly gripped the axe with both hands and began to chop at the butt of the tree.  While it did not take long to cut through the stump, by the time he had felled it he had worked up a good sweat, which kept the biting cold at bay. He proceeded to tie the rope around the butt and then headed for home making his way more or less back along the same route taken previously towing the tree behind him.

When he got to the ditch at the far end of the stubble field, just as he was about to push the tree over onto the road, a voice bellowed to him from the roadside, it was Dermoy Ryan from Killivory just along the road.

“I see the Christmas tree is free again this year Connolly?” he shouted

“As every other year” he retorted back.

“You must be frozen to the bone crossing that 5o acres of stubble, come up to the house and we will have a Christmas drink to put the heat in you”

Tommy tied the tree to a fence post on the inside of the ditch, out of sight from anyone using the road.  Both of them headed to Dermoy’s cottage along the roadway and went inside, Tommy sitting in beside the fire to feel the warmth of the glow.  Dermoy handed him a full glass of whiskey and then joined him by the fire.

Both men talked and drank for ages and those reminisces of years ago entered their conversation with laughter and good banter.  One glass led to another and before long Tommy had forgotten about the time and the dinner, when something tweaked his memory he jumped up suddenly and bade Dermoy farewell and a happy Christmas and sprang out the door to look for his tree.  Luckily his tree was in the same spot so he untied it and headed for home, even though as a much slower pace that he had left that morning.

It was now around 1 o’clock and he still had a number of jobs to do around the cottage.  Getting back to Aylwardstown he was met by the wiry comment from Molly that a liquid lunch must have been provided by the fairies considering the state he was in.  He shook off the verbal onslaught and brought the tree into the cottage and sat down and had his dinner before tackling the other jobs on the list.

Molly said she would look after the tree and decorate it while Tommy finished his dinner and got on with the other jobs.  Having soaked up much of the whiskey he set about killing the goose for the Christmas table and was glad he had a few that morning to steady his nerves.   The kill was swift and humane and the bird did not suffer, the prized goose was prepared for the pot and left to hang until the flesh was ready for the pot in the days to come.

A bustling South St. New Ross pre 1940’s
Courtesy of Myles Courtney, New Ross Street Focus

By now a few flakes had started to fall and gathering in the holly and ivy was now paramount before the real cold spell arrived.  Two fields over towards Carrigcloney lay a grove of hazel and hawthorn trees which had a good covering of ivy and would be easy enough to pull from the trees.  Having arrived and pulled the long strips from the bark he rolled them into circles and tied them down, now they were handy to throw over the shoulder for the short journey home.

For the holly he would travel up the lane and over the railway tracks to the Phelan’s land.  On the boundary ditches lay some good specimens of holly which always supplied a good crop of berries; without the berries the spirit of Christmas would not sit in the cottage, this was his way of thinking.

With all that collected and left in the yard, Molly worked away at making it into shapes that were accessible inside the cottage.  The list was dwindling and now all that was left was to get the train into New Ross and gather the groceries to tie them over the festive spell.  A little extra would be bought in the event the weather turned bad and they were unable to get out of Aylwardstwon over the coming weeks.  Shopping completed Tommy would head into the local pub to catch up on the news with old friends and acquaintances, while Molly would head over town to do the last few bits and pieces.  When fishermen get together there is no stopping the talk and the time passes quickly, half one after half one soon disappear and merriment ensues.

As dusk begins to fall and Molly returns to collect Tommy, they both head across the bridge to catch the returning train.  Weighed down with several bags they would be glad to see the sight of the cottage and the flowing river, home they would be, tired but happy that they got through the necessity of the festive shop and they could now relax and enjoy it all together.

Glenmore railway station. Photo via Paul Grant.

Christmas morning brought a late dawn with grey skies and a bitter cold feel to it.  Tommy had a blazing fire going early on to keep the bitter cold out and the crackling of the blocks sent slivers of red hot wood out into the centre of the cottage room.  Dinner was prepared early as they usually had theirs at about 11 o’clock in the morning. At that time Molloy and himself sat at the little table that looked out over the yard and out to the river and rejoiced in the little feast that lay before them.

 The shortness of the winter light soon caught up upon the Barrow valley and Molloy drew the curtains and settled down to the evening.  The television was put on first to see if there was anything of interest to watch, failing that the radio was engaged and some traditional Irish music would sooth the evening away.  Tommy was often tempted to take down the fiddle and join in with the music, but he preferred a few people to play to than rather an almost empty room.

Both of them sat in on the fire and watched the embers glow and talked of the day, what tomorrow might bring and past Christmas’s had went.  The clock chimed on the wall and the night was still, crackling logs the only intruder into the stillness.

About 8 o’clock when all was quiet a faint knock appeared on the front door, slightly startled Tommy shouted to know who was there.

“Tis Seán Óg Kennedy from Rathinure”

Tommy opened the door and the dark shadow of Seán entered the cottage spouting seasonal greetings to them both.

On been asked what brought him out on a dark and cold night, he said he could not put up with listening to his brothers bickering any longer in the house, even on Christmas night they argued about the price of cattle, what field to sow potatoes in next spring, who’s turn it was to feed the calves in the morning.  He had enough and strolled to the river to find a bit of solace and a quiet corner to sit in.

Shuffling in on the floor he warmed his hands and then Tommy handed him a glass of whiskey and the chat ensued.  They talked well into the night and the sign of sleep never set upon any of them.  As the clock chimed midnight Seán decided he had taken up enough of their time and decided to head for home.  Tommy offered him a spare bed in the back room if he did not fancy going out.  Declining, he faded into the darkness of the night with the words of Tommy ringing in his ears not to go home by Kilcolumn graveyard as the dead would still be about celebrating the festive night and he might get caught up with them.  If he felt any fear at walking home at that hour it was the last thing he wanted to hear then.

The cottage door was bolted and the two elderly people made their way to their bed.  Another Christmas night had passed and now they looked forward to the New Year and the coming spring, when the haggard would take all his attention to get ready for another growing season. The spirit of Christmas had for another year settled on the cottage by the Barrow and gave it its blessing, all was quite there again.

©Brian Forristal

My thanks to Brian Forristal for bringing that slice of life from the River Barrow at Christmas, even if you did not know the people I’m sure the characters depicted would be familiar to you.  A neighbour of the Connollys on the Wexford side of the Barrow was John Seymore, known as the god father of self sufficiency who I have written about before. Guest blogs are published on the last Friday of the month and if you have a story to share about the three rivers or the harbour area please submit it to tidesntales@gmail.com 

If you are interested in getting my blog each week to your email inbox you can now subscribe via feedburner just add your email address to the subscription bar on the website, which generates a request to your email.  Subscription is free and you can unsubscribe anytime.  You can also email tidesntales@gmail.com and I can add you

Christmas fowl-up

O'Flynns Butchers, Waterford

It was Christmas eve morning 1985.  Home, a small council house in the Mount Avenue, Cheekpoint, a mad house. Our father and mother, Bob and Mary looked on with mild amusement as we readied ourselves for a trip to town.  Young adults with thoughts of friends, drinks and a few last minute presents.  My brother Robert and I were to head in on the Suir Way bus, our sisters, Kathleen and Eileen, had other transport arrangements.  Our baby brother Chris ran amongst us, caught up in the excitement, on top of his little world as he had already opened his birthday presents that morning, and could look forward to many more the next day. As Robert and I headed out the door, our mother called after us to remind us to collect the turkey.  As it was the umpteenth reminder we waved her away as we headed up the Avenue, to await the bus at Elliott’s. 

The morning was dry, mild but cloudy and we were dressed in our best; runners, levis jeans and sports tops.  The plan was simple, alight the bus outside Kelly’s on the Quay, stroll around for the gifts, maybe meet the lads for a few pints and get home again on the 3 o’clock bus if possible and ready ourselves for the long night ahead. The plan worked to perfection until Robert bumped into some mates from the place he worked, AIPB in Christendom.  They dragged him away for a pint in Egans, leaving me to my own devices around the town

O'Flynns butchers, Waterford

At 2.30 I was standing outside Phelan’s Butchers in Georges St, waiting on Robert to arrive.  As mobile phones were decades away I had little choice but either wait patiently or walk the town in search of him.  Standing there the evening became darker, a drizzle started to fall and the lights and decorations that lit up the street gave a golden glow to the last minutes shoppers struggling by with bags from the likes of Darrers MrHipps or Mork from Ork!!

Ten minutes later I gave up waiting, and perceiving a lull in the activity I pushed in the door and joined the queue.   I never liked the smell of the butchers I have to admit and in those days when much of the butchering was done on the premises the smell was more intense.  Sawdust was strewn across the floor and behind the counter a large timber cutting block, immaculately clean on the day, was often the scene of pigs being cleaved apart as we stood on the floor as children with my mother.  On this occasion the shop was a scene of organised chaos as a well oiled machine of a family run business processed pre-orders with a military precision.

The counter ran from the right of the shop around in an L shape. A gap allowed for access and egress to the shop floor. A glass front allowed visibility of all the wares and meat hooks hung down from the ceiling, bare today, but regularly holding up sides of beef or pig, heads and all.  Tom Phelan himself was the master of operations and he greeted his customers with a familiarity and fondness that seemed genuine and heartfelt.

I didn’t even have to open my mouth for once my turn came the call went out for Mr’s Dohertys Turkey, which was handed over the counter and with a Happy Christmas from the man himself I was on my way.

Jolly Sailor, Cheekpoint
The Jolly Sailor at Christmas time , Tommy Fardey on guitar. Photo Bridgid Power

Boarding the bus down on the quay, I searched in vain for Robert and presumed he had made his own way home.  But once I got there he was nowhere in sight.  I left for my grandmothers not long after, leaving my mother busy with the preparations, my brother Chris lying on the couch with my father watching TV.

All seemed well in the world, but what I didn’t realise was that while I was strolling for the bus with the turkey in my fist, Robert realising the time, had burst out of pub and headed for the turkey himself. Running up Barronstrand Street he crossed over to Georges St, into O’Flynns butchers and joined the surge of customers inside.  He searched in vain for me, and in his mind he guessed I had hit the town and forgotten all about the errand. 

O’Flynns of course was also well known to the young Doherty’s.  My mother had a countrywoman’s habit of going to different butchers for different cuts of meat.  One week it would be O’Flynns for the ham, chucks or skirt, Phelan’s for the tripe, sausages, etc.  The following week she might switch shops and although there was undoubtedly a method to it, we could never grasp it. 

So when Robert’s turn finally came in O’Flynns he too was recognised.  But on asking for his mother’s turkey rather than eliciting an instant command it created a bit of a stir.  Now of course this only created confusion in Robert and a fair bit of panic.  Where in the hell was the turkey, and how could he go home without it.  The fact that he was six foot four inches and almost as broad across the chest as the proverbial bus perhaps played a part.  They didn’t call him Rambo for nothing or give him a job bouncing on the door of the Ardree disco at 17 either!. There again it might also have been the queue of customers backing out the door.  But certainly his earnestness in thinking that our mother had ordered and paid for a turkey and that he was supposed to bring it home could not be questioned by the staff in the shop.  Relenting, a turkey was found and handed over and Robert left the shop, contented that he had saved Christmas.  Realising he had missed the 3 o’clock bus he went back to the pub.  

Meanwhile I was relaxing in my grandmothers reflecting on what had been a good day so far; I had the presents I needed, the turkey I delivered was being prepped for the Christmas day dinner and now I could look forward to a good night out in the local pub, Tynan’s Jolly Sailor.  Returning to my mothers at about 7pm I walked in on a very different scene.  The calm and peace I had left was now in tatters.  My mother was furious, my father had gone to the pub and Chris had retired to the safety of the girls room, who had returned from town with Robert on the 6pm bus.

My mother, the most calm and good natured woman in Cheekpoint, had almost fainted when Robert had walked through the door.  On hearing his account she had rushed out without a word.  She had run to the Cross Roads, where from the phone box she had tried unsuccessfully to ring the shop to apologise for the mistake.  The O’Flynns had closed and now my mother was custodian over a turkey that she could ill afford, did not need and couldn’t fit in her tiny freezer. 

Robert and myself decided to make ourselves scarce as we couldn’t stop laughing.  When we got to the pub Robert got a great cheer, my father had already put a spin on the story and the way he had told it made it sound like Robert had jumped through the window with the bird under his arm.  The gauntlet had to be run of course.  First was my fathers mates, fishermen and sailors alike like Robert Ferguson, Martin Mahon, Paddy Duffin, Tom Sullivan and Ned Heffernan.  The story had to be told, with my fathers interjections, and they roared with laughter as the scenes unfolded.  Next was our own mates stuck in the far corner, Mossy Moran, Paul Duffin, Neil Elliott, Ger Doherty, Michael Duffin, all shouting at once, laughing and blackguarding.  As each new group came into the pub the story was told and retold. 

Visitors to the house on Christmas morning had already heard the account at that stage and their questions and reactions put a smile on our mother’s face and lightened her mood. 

All those  Robert met over Christmas wanted to hear the story from the horses mouth and from The Jolly sailor, the Suir Inn, Jack Meade’s and into town the story grew legs and his infamy grew.

Our mother eventually decided that she would have to cook the second turkey, for it wouldn’t keep and to waste good food was a sin in her eyes.

Her biggest fear of course was that it was someone else’s turkey and that their Christmas was ruined, and try as she might that thought dwelt at the back of her mind that whole Christmas. The first opportunity she got to get into town, she was away to O’Flynns with her purse and her apologies.  Bernard O’Flynn at least managed to put her mind at rest about another family’s Christmas being ruined, as he had several on reserve and no one went hungry. It was as if Christ himself had answered her prayers and she was a much less troubled woman when she finally arrived home.  But from that year on neither Robert nor I was ever asked to get the turkey again.

Previous Christmas blogs

I have to acknowledge the assistance of Frank Murphy in helping me title today’s blog. Frank is one of the many background team I have who help me on a regular basis

I’d like to wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas, where ever you are and whatever you are doing and look forward to further interactions in 2019.

Next week we have more Christmas tidings, this time from upriver on the River Barrow, a guest blog by Brian Forristal; Christmas at Aylwardstown

Remembering the Formby and Coningbeg

SS Formby

Within two days in December 1917, Waterford experienced its biggest loss of seafaring lives with the sinking of Clyde Shipping’s SS Formby and SS Coningbeg. Of the 83 souls who perished 67 were from Waterford, the harbour and hinterland and the effects were profound.  Because it was wartime, very little was written due to censorship, and many misunderstood the reasons behind it.  But in 1992 a Wexford man, Richard McElwee, committed pen to paper and finally told the full story of the loss.

The SS Formby was built by Caledon SB. & Eng. Co. Ltd., Dundee in 1914 and was considered the flagship of the Clyde shipping company. She was 270 feet long, 1283 tons and had a top speed of 14.5 knots. Although primarily a cattle transport vessel she could accommodate 39 first class and 45 steerage passengers.

SS Formby
SS Formby With thanks to Shaun McGuire who had it from a daughter of Thomas Coffey

The SS Coningbeg was originally SS Clodagh built for the Waterford Steamship company by Ailsa shipbuilders in Troon, Scotland, August 1903. When the company was sold to the Clyde in 1912 she was renamed. In 1913 she underwent a total refit. She was also 270 feet long, 1278 tons and capable of a top speed of 16.5 knots. She could carry between 5-600 head of cattle and 86 first class and 74 steerage passengers. 

The ships ran a twice weekly service carrying passengers, livestock, foodstuff and general cargo from Waterford and returning with passengers and general cargo from Liverpool. The trip was 16hrs one way and both ships had a reputation for strict time keeping.  

As WWI raged the ships and crews were constantly in danger.  Not alone did they assist the war effort, but they kept both sides of the Irish sea fed.  More importantly for themselves, no doubt, the crews provided food and an income for their own families.

Both ships had had skirmishes with U Boats and one example I found from the Munster Express of Feb 1915 concerned the Irish sea being temporarily closed to shipping due to a U Boat threat. The Coningbeg was confined to Waterford port which caused mayhem as her cargo of cattle had to be unshipped and accommodated elsewhere. Meanwhile the families of the Formby gathered under an increasing cloud, fearful as there were unfounded rumours that she was sunk.  Later that month, the Kerry News ran a story that the Coningbeg failed to put to sea, due to a dispute between the crew and the owners over a war bonus for the risks they were taking.

SS Coningbeg
SS Coningbeg ex Clodagh

At 11am on Saturday 15th December the SS Formby slipped her moorings and travelled out the Mersey and into the Irish sea. Aboard were 37 crew and 2 passengers.  She was due into Waterford the following morning, but when she did not arrive there was only minor concern.  As Saturday had progressed a storm of sleet and snow had developed and had become a gale overnight, causing widespread damage.  In Waterford it was presumed the Formby was sheltering and would be in to port later on Sunday. She never arrived.  As the fears grew it was decided to send word to Liverpool to halt the sailing on the Coningbeg.  No telegrams could be sent however, as all the lines were down following the storm.

Having sat out the storm in Liverpool, the Coningbeg set sail for Waterford on Monday 17th December at 1pm.  Oblivious to the concerns in Waterford she departed with a crew of 40 and 4 passengers. When she failed to arrive pandemonium ensued.  Family, relatives, neighbours and friends gathered at the Clyde company offices for any scrap of news.  Over Christmas the vigil continued but on Thursday 27th December the company felt obliged to write to each family confirming everyone’s worst fears, that they could no longer hold any hopes for their loved ones return.

Of the ships no trace was reported.  Locally it was considered to be too much of a coincidence that two fine ships would both disappear within two days of each other, except through hostile involvement. A special appeal fund was created to fundraise and provide for the seamen’s families until such time as they could qualify for the Board of Trade War Loss Pension (1920 in some cases). The appeal fund was still in use in 1927.

In time the body of the Formby stewardess Annie O’Callaghan would wash ashore in Wales, the only body to be recovered apparently (or at least positively identified).  The remains of two lifeboats and a nameplate of the Formby also.  But it would be the publication of Ernest Hashagens war diary which would finally confirm the fate of both ships, blasted from the Irish sea without any warning, or chance to get to their lifeboats, by the U Boat U-62.  

Down the years many still held that the ships were lost in a terrific storm. But on the 75 anniversary Richard McElwee published his account of “The last voyages of the Waterford Steamers“.  The book which goes into significant details into the sinkings and included excerpts from Hashagens memoirs makes for chilling reading.  But it also served to remind the public of the service these sailors gave to the city, country and the war effort of WWI.  This book was re-published for the 100th anniversary last year and I believe copies are still available in the Book Centre, Waterford.

The old Clyde Shipping Co Offices
The old Clyde Shipping Co Offices, Waterford Quay where families waited over Christmas 1917 for news

There is now a significant memorial, situated on the quay of Waterford which lists all the names (as does the link here written by a fellow Cheekpoint man) and was unveiled by the then president of Ireland Mary Robinson in February 1997. They are also remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial in London to merchant seamen, the Dunmore East memorial wall to Waterford seafarers and the more recent memorial wall in Dungarvan to those who died in WW I.

If you would like to hear the story here’s a fine audio piece from the BBC on the sinkings and aftermath narrated by Julian Walton


I publish a blog about Waterford Harbours maritime heritage each Friday. 

To subscribe for free to get it to your inbox email tidesntales@gmail.com

which will generate an offer email asking you to subscribe,

Subscription is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time

For daily events/updates https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  https://twitter.com/tidesntales

Power family era of Faithlegg House

In 1819, newlyweds Nicholas Power and Margaret nee Mahon moved into their new home, Faithlegg House.  It was bought from a financially insolvent Cornelius Bolton. They were the first Catholic landlords of the area since the Norman era Aylward family, who were dispossessed following the Cromwellian siege of Faithlegg castle in October 1649. 

Nicholas adopted his wife’s surname and they became more commonly known as the Mahon Power’s, a useful distinction with such a common name in Waterford at the time, as now!.  Margaret was a wealthy heiress, her father made money from textiles but while she settled into a life of raising a family, her husband developed his land and farming interests, took an active role in politics and was a contributor to many good causes.

Faithlegg House.
Faithlegg House, Co Waterford. circa 1969. Photo by Brendan Grogan

Politically he organised support for catholic political interests throwing his weight behind the campaigns of the “great liberator” Daniel O’Connell and the campaign for Catholic emancipation and repeal.  O’Connell is known to have visited the house on at least two occasions and once described Power as “the right kind of agitator” He took on a variety of political and administration roles including Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, chair of many organising committees and a Catholic MP for Waterford between 1847 – 1859. 

One of his first actions on the estate was to build a chapel of ease for the catholic community beside the old Norman churches in 1824 at Coolbunnia.  Prior to this Catholics had to walk to Passage East for mass.  There was also a tradition of mass rocks on the Minaun area during penal times.  He was a benefactor to Edmund Rice and apparently bore the major cost of establishing the first of his schools, Mount Sion, in Waterford. 

The first official boys school was established in Faithlegg in the 1830’s, free as it was organised by the government, girls parents had to pay privately for their education.  This however changed in the 1870’s when the new Faithlegg School was established again with the support of the Power family, catering for boys and girls.  Little is known of the famine era in the area, but locally it was considered to be less of an issue, perhaps because of a catholic landlord, the richness of the land and the use of fish in the local diet. 

Faithlegg Churches
Faithlegg Churches

Margaret and Nicholas were divorced in 1860 and she died not long after in Dublin.  Before his death Nicholas Mahon Power paid for the construction of the spire, belfry and organ loft to be seen at the front of Faithlegg Church.  This was completed in 1873 the year he died.  He is buried inside the church.

His son Patrick Joseph Mahon Power inherited the property on his father’s death.  His wife was Lady Olivia Jane Nugent, daughter of the Earl of Westmeath.  From 1873-5 he and his wife were responsible for the alterations and extensions to Faithlegg House, changing it from a Georgian building to a Victorian mansion.  The changes included 2 storey, 2 bay wings on either side of the existing building, on to which a single storey extension was added to both sides.  The single storey on the left was an oratory whilst the right was a school room.  The front of the building was refaced, with segmented hoods over the ground floor windows.  A portico with square piers was also added and St Hubert’s Deer was added to the front of the house.  Internally the plastered ceilings were the work of Italian craftsmen.

Externally there were modifications too; including planting, laying out of terraces at the rear and the building of pleasure grounds.  A shell house was constructed to the left of the main house.  This was replaced with a grotto in the 1940’s when it was destroyed by a fallen tree.

Faithlegg Harriers at Faithlegg House
The Faithlegg Harriers outside the main door of the house. AH Poole photo

Pat Power was an active landlord never employing a steward in the running of the estate.  He was a huntsman and was master of the hounds for Gaultier and later for east Waterford; apparently because Lord Waterford had been banned by the Land League for hunting on its members land.  The Faithlegg Hunt was known as the Harriers and Pat prided himself on providing good sport to any visiting hunts, preserving the Minaun as a fox covert. 

Leisure seems to have been a regular feature of their era.  A cricket team met in the grounds and played into the 1950’s.  A Hurling team also featured made up of many who worked in the house or on the farm. 

He was also an avid yachtsman, and the family regularly sailed European waters from the British Isles, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.  The Power family yacht was regularly on hand for local regattas and Pat was listed as a committee member in organising same.

Pat died in 1913, predeceased by his wife in 1903.  The estate past to his eldest son Hubert, who died in 1920.  Following this the house was unoccupied save for a maintenance team of servants. It was finally sold to the De La Salle Order as a junior novitiate in 1936.

For more blogs on Faithlegg:

Next week we go all Christmassy.  Did you know too much turkey can be a bad thing?  It certainly got me and my brother Robert in trouble in 1985!