Visiting Minaun Hill

One of the most beautiful views, and quieter walks that you will find in in East Waterford is the Minaun, overlooking the Meeting of the Three Sisters and with panoramas over the counties of the SE, down the harbour and out to the Saltee Islands.  My mother told me that as a child she remembered “townies” walking out to take the view on Sunday afternoons.  And indeed visitors have a long history. The earliest I know of is Arthur Young, who stayed with local landlord, Cornelius Bolton, in the 18th Century.
Young wrote; “…rode with Mr Bolton (jnr) to Faithlegg hill, which commands one of the best views I have seen in Ireland” he then goes on to give a detailed geographical description which you can read online if you wish (page 409 to be specific).  Returning after two years he again “…visited this enchanting hill, and walked to it, day after day, from Ballycanvan, and with increasing pleasure.”(1)
In a previous blog I carried an account of victorian era day trippers coming to the village and climbing to the Minaun to take the views. Interesting to note, because it was then used as a fox covert by the Power’s of Faithlegg House. A covert was an area of ground set aside that foxes could find shelter and thrive…all the more for the Faithlegg Harriers to chase on their hunts.
As children the Minaun was a regular play space, particularly on Sunday afternoon walks with our mother. There were several spots that we visited and my own favourite was the round piece of stone, where local tradition had it the Knights of the round table met.  We would play at King Arthur, with swords and shields and talk like the actors such as Robert Taylor, familiar to us from the black and white movies on RTE on Sunday afternoons .
Another rock feature was shaped like a loaf of bread or other times we called it a grave, holding one of the knights that had fallen in battle. The memory was brought back to me as an adult when I read T.F. O’Sullivans book Goodly Barrow.(2)  In it he relates how according to legend the Fianna used the Minaun in their defence of Leinster and so important was it to their leader Fionn Mac Cumhaill that he deputised a son, Cainche Corcardhearg, to wait in watch as protector of his realm.  Apparently he lives below the ground…lying in wait! He must be sleeping soundly…any number of invaders have swept past him in the intervening years!
As we headed down from the Minaun we came to the old stump which was all that remained of a cross. My mother knew the story well. Her uncle Christy Moran and his wife (the driving force) Katie Doherty had asked Chris Sullivan to make the cross. I was always told it was done to mark the Marian Year, 1954.  However the cross was erected in 1950 which was a holy year announced by Pope Pius XII (which I know courtesy of Blob the Scientist).  Katie went door to door to pay for the timber and although people had little enough they paid what they could, perhaps because they were a little afraid of her.  Katie had a reputation for religious fervour.
My father told me about the day it was brought up.  The boys of the area had been rounded up by Katie and no excuses would be heard.  She had them hoist the cross onto their backs and then encouraged and cajoled them up the road from Coolbunnia to where the school now is, then up onto the Minaun to the summit.  As they went Katie played her malodian box and sang religious hymns. My father often joked that the only difference between themselves and Jesus was that Katie spared them the crown of thorns.
Moran family early 1950’s with Tramore in the distance (honest!)
From Ann Moran via her son Brian (USA)
One of the big differences now, to when I was a child, is the lack of the clear views. Then you could have a full 360 view from the summit including Waterford, South Tipp, Kilkenny, Wexford and Carlow.  But alas the trees that were planted have now obscured much of the view. According to my godmother, Elsie Murphy, the Minaun was sold by the Land Commission to the Forestry Commission as 1958.  The trees were subsequently planted in 1968/9 we think.

The one mystery is where the name Minaun came from.  As you can see Young referred to it as Faithlegg Hill, and the article from 1850 calls it simply the Hill of Cheekpoint or again Faithlegg Hill. However when Canon Power visited we know the name was in use. And locally I’ve never heard it referred to anything but the Minaun. Sourcing the origins of placenames in the area has long been a source of difficulties however.   I’ve certainly struggled with the Minaun placename before.

Whatever the name, or the purpose, i think its likely the Minaun will continue to see use by visitors for many years to come. And even if not, I will certainly get enjoy its history and its views. And if you want more encouragement, here’s a short video from Mark at Waterford Epic Locations to whet the appetite

(1) Arthur Young.  “A Tour in Ireland 1776-1779”  reprinted 1970.  Irish University Press Shannon

(2) TF O’Sullivan.  “Goodly Barrow, A Voyage on an Irish River” 2001 Lilliput Press Dublin

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Cheekpoints Industrial Era

Today’s blog is a summary of the recent walk conducted to celebrate Heritage Week 2015 and is a narrative of the afternoon and what we encountered.  

to Cheekpoint and to this years heritage week event, which is hosted by the
Cheekpoint Fishing Heritage Project in conjunction with Deena Bible of
Russianside Tours.  This
year we look at an era of significant activity in the village and primarily
between the years 1787-1813 when the official station for the mail packet, or
mail boat, was based here at Cheekpoint.  The walk will also explore the industries which evolved, largely as a consequence of the mail
boat activities.  We will look at the industries themselves but also
glimpse how village life was perceived through the poetry of a young lady named
Elizabeth Owen, daughter of the mail packet manager, Thomas.

The developments that we cover were largely, if not solely, as a consequence of the efforts of the local landlord; Cornelius Bolton.  Several times Mayor, County Sheriff and MP for Waterford he built on the agricultural improvements of his father to secure investment into what might be seen as a pet project.  

Mail Packet Station

between Britain and Ireland began in an official way during Tudor times.  The
mails to the Waterford area were however an
ad hoc affair.   Over time the Packet
evolved to carry the packages
of business/government and domestic mail, passenger, and freight transportation
between European countries and their colonies. However the service out of
Waterford, and based at Passage East was a privately run operation, carrying
post, but depending largely on
passengers and freight to generate income.  The official postal route
between London and Ireland was Holyhead to Dublin.  Pressure had been
building on the postal service via business interests in the Bristol and the
Waterford area for some time however.
 Correspondence was highly irregular on the existing private service and
the official channel via Dublin was slow, when road transport between the
capital and the cities and towns of Munster was factored in. Further leverage
in the campaign for a regular service appears to have been the need for up to
date intelligence on the French fleet during the Napoleonic wars.

A Cutter

By 1786 the Post Office began working to make a second route to Ireland a
reality and the Cheekpoint Packet officially commenced on 5th April 1787 with
one ship and one sailing a week.  By
June of that year the packet had extended to five trips a week and by August
five ships were running 6 days per week, every day but Saturday

An amazing record was set during this time.  The distance between
Cheekpoint and Milford Haven was 85 miles.  It was covered on
one occasion in 8 hours, but the average seems to have been something
between 9-15 hours.  The ships being used were cutters of about 80-90
tons and known for their speed.  Some of the ships running on the service
in 1788 were; Carteret, Walsinghm, Ponsonby, Clifden and the Tyrone.

Poem: Reflections on
Bolton and the scenes of my infancy

Dear Bolton, where my gayest hours were spent,

When thoughtless childhood found my heart content,

How often round thy hills at morn I stray’d,

And when fierce Sol withdrew, I still delay’d

How often have I climb’d each flow’ry hedge,

How often have I rov’d the river’s edge,

And seen the stately vessels swiftly glide,

Upon the bosom of the lucent tide,

Or mark’d the busy tars those sails unbend,

Which brought to mem’ry then, some absent friend !

Past joys like these, my fancy loves to trace,

Which time, nor change, can alter or efface.

 The Green – Textile Industry
long speculated that the Green in Cheekpoint owes it’s name to a bleaching
Bleaching was a process used in the textile industry of whiting material to remove
stains from the manufacturing process.  

Julian Walton quoting Matthew Butler relates that “…A
report of 1788 states that there were thirty stocking frames in operation,
though there were only twenty-two looms in linen and cotton.” (Fewer: p49)

The mention of Stocking Frames gives some sense of the
work happening in the village at the time. The
industrial revolution saw the creation of many mechanical solutions to
what had previously been a skilled, hand crafted work.
 One such invention was the Stocking Frame, which could make socks, albeit
of poorer quality, but much quicker and cheaper.  The invention gave rise
to the term Luddites – those who rose up and fought against the machines and
the displacement of their work and income.  

As a consequence a trade in stocking frame looms emerged,
where they were purchased
by the wealthy and were then leased out to workers to make the socks which were
then sold on by the wealthy merchant.  Looms were installed in the
cottages of the poor and with minimum training they could soon be turning out
socks for export.  In the case of Cheekpoint, it is likely that the poorer
quality material was exported directly to the army, then fighting in the
Napoleonic war.

Stocking frame machine
In 1788 Cornelius Bolton
exported “…300 dozen
plain, ribbed and ribbed and figuered cotton stockings at a profit of 25%…
” In November of 1789 Daniel Malone, possibly the manager of the textile
business, reported that the Bleach Green had been robbed of  “…39
pairs of cotton stockings, 28 yards of calico, and 24 yards of linen, and
offered a reward of £10 for information”  In 1792 Malone was
advertising for “..six apprentices for his hosiery business” (Fewer:

There was also mention of a cotton mill in the village and some have speculated
that it was close to the Green.  However, the remains of any building of
such a size have been found either around the green or elsewhere in the
village.  No signs of same on any old maps either.  Is it possible
that over the years hand looms. were mistaken for a cotton mill?  Possibly.
 However, Anthony Rogers could tell me that his mother remembered as a
child the remains of rusting machinery in a field where Tommy and Maura
Sullivan now live. 

Its likely that the ending of
the Napoleonic war in
1815, would have seen an end for the demand for the local
produce.  Certainly Samuel Lewis
writing in 1837 noted that Cheekpoint was “formerly the Waterford post-office
packet station, and the seat of a cotton and rope manufactory, which since the
removal of the packets to Dunmore have been discontinued.”

Poem:  On Receiving
a View of Dunbrody Abbey

Tho’ we, my friend, have often stray’d

O’er many a hill, thro’ many a glade,

How chanc’d it that we never met,

In this old monastery yet ?

Where still are seen ‘mongst weeds and stones,

The holy Friars mould’ring bones:-

We might have mus’d till busy thought,

In fancy’s glowing colours brought,

The days,- when ‘mid those cloisters dim,

Was heard the solemn choral hymn ;

When still this aisle,- whose canopy,

Is now yon clear unclouded sky,

Returned in echoes deep and strong,

The matin chime,- or vesper song:


Dobbyns house was once the home of several sea captains including Captain
White.  There is a story locally that one day the wife of the sea captain
was working in the kitchen when she noticed a sailor falling from the rigging
of her husbands ship.  She rushed out of the house and down to the quay.
 On approaching however, she was restrained.  Her young son, who may
have been an apprentice, or just down helping the deck hands was the person she
had seen falling, and he had died on hitting the deck. Such accidents must have
been a regular occurrence in the village.

Poem:  Written while viewing the
Funeral of a young sailor, who was killed by falling from the mast. 

With drooping colours, see, the sailors bear,

Their late gay messmate, to an early tomb ;

For his sad fate, they drop the silent tear :

Poor hapless blossom nipp’d in life’s young bloom.

Ev’n I, a strangrer to his name and birth,

Feel pity’s soft emotion o’er me creep ;

Yes, I – who lately smil’d in buoyant mirth,

For thee, ill-fated youth – can also weep.
Bolton Milepost is one of only two remaining mileposts dating from the time of
the mail station.  The milestones
were obviously part of the road
realignment which sought to ease the passage of carriages and
good vehicles.  The milepost marked the
end of the line for a network that covered most of Munster and included 38

The cost of post at that
time was:
every single letter, sixpence
every double letter, one shilling
every treble letter, one shilling and six pence
every one ounce, two shillings
so in proportion for every packet of deeds, writs, and other things


The mileposts were taken down
in the “Emergency” for fear that in the event of a German invasion; they would
assist the invading army!  The present
milestone was dug up when the Mount Avenue houses were being constructed and
was repositioned.  Many others no doubt
lie in ditches between here and Waterford. 

Poem:  Epistle to A. H.

Cheekpoint is a wilderness cheerless and drear,

No kind-hearted neighbour to knock at our door,

And could you behold your poor friends pining here,

You’d say we were never deserted before.

The storm’s on the hill, and the dark tempest low’rs,

The city has lur’d all my friends from the plain ;

But summer soon comes with her smiles and her flow’rs

And then like the swallows, they’ll flock here again.
Owen’s came to Cheekpoint in 1787 to run the Mail Packet Station. Captain
Thomas Owen and his wife Jane arrived from Milford in Wales where they,
apparently, originated.  They raised their family at Fairymount.  The
family were Quakers, and obviously they would have been welcomed by a
strong community already in place in Waterford.  We don’t know very much
about their lives but when Elizabeth published a book of poetry, Poetical
Recollections, in 1826 it gave hints and insights into what it was to live in
this era.

Although Thomas and Jane had ten children in all, only four survived to
adulthood.  Margaret Owen was born
8/7/1783, Elizabeth 26/6/1787, Samuel 17/3/1792 and finally William, the
youngest was born 13/9/1781.  No mention is made of schooling, but as the
Quakers set up Newtown School in 1798 it is possible, if not probably that
Elizabeth and her younger brothers would have attended. Elizabeth had a strong
affinity with nature and it appears that it was a central feature to her

Poem:  Fairy Hill

My Muse can no longer be

On a spot so luxuriant and gay,

I write in thy praise, FAIRY HILL,

And the subject must sweeten my lay.

How beautiful art thou at morn,

Refresh’d by the dews of the night,

When glittering spangles adorn,

Thy blossoms of blue, pink, and white.

When Nature her beauty bestows,

When soothing the hum of thy bees,

When sweet of the breath of the rose,

Young Zephyrus sighs thro’ thy trees.

How pleasant at noon to retire,

From the glare of the mid-day to the shade,

Where envy itself must admire,

The neatness around us displayed.

And lovelier still to survey,

At eve – when the soul is at rest,

The beams of the sun’s setting ray,

Kiss lightly the blue river’s breast.
opened as a Coaching Inn in 1793.  We know the date as the hotelier, J.
Sly advertised his new Inn in the Waterford Herald. The advertisement is dated
as January 21st 1793  By calling it a new Inn, I think it safe to assume
that the old inn is what we now know as McAlpins, Suir Inn.

I have read three accounts or reviews of those who stayed at the Hotel, none of
them were very positive and one is blunt and to the point “It was dark
before we reached Cheek Point – where there is a large dirty inn – for the
reception of Packet Passengers.  piece from Antell book?

I often wondered why they would have located a hotel on this side of the
village and away from the main road and packet.  Well the buildings of
Ireland website consider the building to be much older. Dating it between
1750-1780 and speculate that it may have been built as a harbour masters home
or a constabulary barracks.  

Daisy bank – the coaching Inn

We know that during famine times it was still in use as a hotel but by 1888 it
became a family home and has been used as such since.  So it must have
given employment to the area for over 100 years.

Poem:  Written
after attending the funeral of an old and faithful servant

When living, I promis’d
thee, shouldst thou depart

Before me, – a tribute of praise should be thine,

Tho’ lowly and poor – yet I valued thy heart ;

‘T was faithful and honest -in these didst thou shine.

Thy labours are ended ;- beside the old pile,

O’ergrown with dark ivy, we buried the deep ;

And green is the sod or thy own native isle,

Beneath it, poor MARY, in peace dost thou sleep.
Ropewalk, Brick Kiln,
Mines, Slate Quarries and fishing trade.
of the other industries that evolved in the village during this period are now
largely forgotton, save for a placename or a feature of the landscape.
 There was reputed to have been a brick kiln in the Rookery end of the
village, but anything of this operation seems to have disappeared.
 Perhaps it was a consequence of the building boom that would have
accompanied the packet.  Likewise the Slate quarries, although in this
case the remains of at least two can be seen at the Barn Quay end of the
village in Coolbunnia and it was believed anonther was located at nooke in
Wexford.  Locally it was said that the slate was of too poor a quality and
the importation of welsh slate to easy, to make the quarry worthwhile.

Cobalt mining was another initiative that seems to have been a failure.
 one Colonel Hall was the chief protagonist in this opertation and as children
we were often cautioned about old mine pits in the faithlegg area that we would
be as well to avoid.  

The ropewalk, where we now stand was another operation and was most likely a
going concern for a number of years, given the need for rope and cordage
associated with shippping and the fishing trade in the area.  Ropewalks
existed in several areas of the city and in Portlaw associated with malcomson’s
mill.  As an example of the quantity of rope required at the time, a
sailing ship similar to those larger vessels who visited Waterford in 2011 for
the Tall Ships event would have needed 3 miles of rope.   

Poem:  The

The bark was toss’d – for the wind was high,

And fearfully flew the spray ;

Twas dismal to hear the seaman’s cry,

Of “lighten by cutting away !”

The masts were gone with a stunning sound,

And the vessel became a wreck ;

The steersman’s voice in all the din was drown’d,

As he summon’d all hands on deck.

The storm increas’d,- twas an awful night,

For the Angel of Death was near,

They pray’d to the king of glory bright,

And he turned not away his ear.

His mighty hand, brought them safe to shore,

It was stretch’d in their hour of grief ;

When feeble man could preform no more,

The arm of the Lord brought relief.

Summer House
was always curious about the purpose of the Summerhouse but growing up, there
were no answers just speculations.  My grandmother had it that a woman
used to sit here and write poetry.  I always thought she referred to Kathy
Leech who lived in the
street.  However it came as a surprise to be given a gift of Elizabeth
Owen’s book some years back and to find the following poem;
Poem: Lines Written in a Summer House 1924


Welcome to this calm retreat,

Call’d the little fancy tow’r;

Shelter’d from the summer heat,

Freely pass a social hour.

Eastward turn-and you behold,

The Abbey, graceful in decay,-

Westward-mark the clouds of gold,

Glancing in the setting ray.

Here the hill, – and there the vale,-

Taste delight in such a view;

Now a bark with spreading sail,

Gently skims the river blue.

Kindered love doth here repose,

In each other, all are blest;-

May that peace which virtue knows,

Shed its sunshine o’er each breast.

Cheekpoint Quay

It’s fitting then that we end where we strated from.  The mail packet was
moved in 1813, the same year that Captain Thomas Owen died.  The tides,
currents and contrary winds made the journey from Cheekpoint to the open sea a
challange to steep.  The packet had faced early criticism and the reality
was that whatever about summer sailings along the south east coast, winter
sailings were a precarious venture.

These ships were embarking and disembarking from the village, but not the
present quay, which was extensively refurbished in the 1870’s.  By 1810
plans were announced for a new port at Dunmore East, as the site at Cheekpoint
was considered too far upriver, against strong currents and
wind dependent.  In 1813 it moved back to Passage East and by 1818 to
it’s purpose built home at Dunmore.  In 1834 the service relocated to the
city of Waterford.  

Following it’s relocation ships continued to call to the village, but it’s
clear that the village went into serious economic decline from that point
forward.  In
my youth the only employment in the village was seafaring the fishing with some
jobs in the local pub/resturaunts.  Today we are a
satellite village of the city depending on it for work.  Our only
employment now is the
tourism sector.  Hopefully some element of fishing can be restored.

Poem:  Review of Childhood

Ah ! let me for awhile recal those hours,

When I in chlildhood round the village stray’d,

To gather blackberries or cull sweet flow’rs,

Whose wild profusion deck’d the verdant glade.

Remembrance blest ! for ever, ever dear,

Then, who like me so innocent and gay ;

Fond mem’ry sheds one silent sorrowing tear,

O’er days so bright, forever fown away.

Ye tranquil hours, and blissful scenes, farewell !

The thoughts of BERTHA oft shall turn to you,

While time around ye pours a sacred spell ;

Sweet spots of happy infancy – Adieu !

thanks for joining us on our walk, safe home, and we look forward to seeing you
back again next year for another Heritage Week event.


Antell. R.  The mails between South West Wales and Southern Ireland: The Milford-Waterford packet 1600-1850.  2011.  Welsh Philatelic Society.

Copies can be ordered directly by contacting the Welsh Philatelic Society, contact details on their website at

Bill Irish wrote a wonderful piece about the Waterford packet in Decies #60 link to online version here:
Aalen. F.H.A. et al Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape.  2003. Cork University Press

Fewer T.N. (Ed) I was a day in Waterford.  2001.  Ballylough Books.  Waterford

I’d like to thank Andy Kelly who originally passed me on the book of poetry. Also like to acknowledge Christopher Moriarty of the Irish Quaker Historical Library who provided many of the details of the family which I used.



Ballycanvan House and Townland

About forty years ago I went with Michael Duffin and his mother Catherine to have our hair cut by Mandy over in Woodlands Avenue.  We got the hair cut first and then we went off for a stroll while Catherine received the full attention.  Wandering along the avenue we followed a path down towards the river when we came across an old crumbling building,  I had two memories of it, first its ramshackled nature and second that I stood into cow slurry, that stunk to high heaven when we got back to Mandys and meant that Catherine had to lower the windows on the way home.

The house we had stumbled upon was the original seat of power, if you will pardon the pun of the Powers of Ballycanvan, a family directly related to the Powers of Curraghmore and thus direct descendants of the original Le Poer that landed as part of the Norman conquest.  The original tower house, similar no doubt to Ballymaclode castle directly across Ballycanvan Stream (which flows past Jack Meades pub) was later built on and added to.  The following is a brief historical run of the owners or occupiers at one time or another.

Ballymaclode castle on the city side of Ballycanvan stream

In 1537 there is a list of crimes held against one Thomas Power of Ballycanvan including many extortions of travellers, no doubt using to advantage his location.  In 1598 a stone chimenypiece was built with an inscription carved to Richard Power, 4th baron le Poer and Katherine Barry.  In 1697 a Captain William Harrison was leasing the property and this was continued by his son John Harrison.

It came into the Bolton family when Rev Hugh Bolton (1683-1758) acquired the property as Dean of Waterford.  He was succeed by Cornelius Bolton the Elder (1714-1774) who took over in 1758 and extended his ownership to the Mill Farm in 1765. It was here that Arthur Young, the travel writer and chronicler of industrial and agricultural development, visited when he came to East Waterford. We have also met the Mill Farm recently, and the works of Cornelius too.  A Georgian mansion was added to the castle at this point.

the old mill and Ballycanvan overlooking the Suir (Kings Channel)
Photo courtesy of Liam Hartley

Cornelius Bolton the younger, (1751-1829) sold the house to his younger brother Henry around 1792, no doubt to assist in the ongoing investment at Cheekpoint.  Henry however, leased it not long before he died, in 1805, to Samuel Roberts (1758-1834) son of honest John Roberts who did substantial work to the property.  On Henry’s death ownership went to his daughter Elizabeth, a fragile lady who had a nervous breakdown in 1807 and never recovered.

In 1818 Roberts dropped the lease and Thomas Meagher (1764-1837) took on the property.  The Meaghers remained at the property until 1829.  Subsequently the property was leased to Richard Morris and family until 1836.  The next family found on the property is George Kent (bc1786-1866), who made his money in the bacon trade, and was renting from 1848 to his death.

An early map highlighting the house and grounds

Elizabeth Bolton died in Devon in 1852 and Cornelius Bolton the youngers eldest son Cornelius Henry inherited the property.  This he sold in 1857 and it was apparently bought at that time by Patrick Power of Faithlegg House.

The Kent family seem to have continued to live on in the house for some time afterwards, but at some point in the subsequent decades structural problems were found in the building and it fell into disrepair.  What now remains is a sad reminder of a very busy and illustrious past.

The information contained in this piece comes via Mark Thomas in the following article for Abandoned Ireland;

The selling of Faithlegg House March 1st 1816

In last weeks blog we met the Bolton family of Cornelius Bolton the elder, through the visits and writings of Arthur Young.  At this time the families activities were generally of a pastoral nature.  In a few short years however they would shift to an industrial focus, which would lead to a boom time for the area, but alas like all booms, there would also be a bust, and in it, this particular developer would lose all.  

Cornelius the Elder was a progressive farmer
who died in 1779.  In succeeding his father, Cornelius the MP was to become a serious businessman.  He would also be an MP for Waterford on several occasions and would hold several other posts including Mayor and Sheriff.

In 1885 the Mail Packet station was moved to the village of Cheekpoint and it would appear this was to become a serious driver of the industrial plans.  This also coincided with government policy to diversify textile manufacture away from Dublin and substantial subsidies were provided by parliament to villages such as Balbriggen in Dublin, Prosperous  in Kildare and Cheekpoint and New Geneva in Waterford.1

Below is a brief list of the achievements of both Boltons, as I find it impossible to separate the activities of one from the other regarding the earlier developments.  This is also incomplete.  As two of the items were only added in the last few weeks.  I imagine it would take serious historical research to unearth all that the Bolton’s were involved in.

  • Ballycanavan House
  • Brooke Lodge
  • 300 Acres of woodland including the Oak woods around Faithlegg and the Glazing wood
  • Double Lime Kilns (2 at Jack Meades, 2 at Faithlegg and 1 at Cheekpoint) (that I know of)

  • Triple kiln at Ballycanavan

Triple kiln
  • Water Mill at Jack Meades

Old water mill, Jack Meades

  • Water Mill at Ballycanavan

  • Commercial Ice House at Jack Meades
  • Forge on Redmonds Hill
  • Draining of and reclaiming of Marshes including containing walls
  • Textile Industry at Cheekpoint – (Thirty stocking frames, 22 looms for linen and cotton2
  • Brick making factory
  • Rope walk in Cheekpoint

  • Daisybank house – Hotel for the mail packet

Daisybank House
  • Cheekpoint quay (replaced with the present quay circa 1870)
  • Realignment and improvement to main road to Waterford (including the mileposts)

  • Two slate quarries at the Barn Quay

  • Mining operations for cobalt
  • An interest in the plans for New Geneva project

  • Faithlegg House

Some of the above still exist.  However, others are just memories handed down
in the area or linked to placenames such as the rope walk at the Rookery and
the Village Green – most probably a blanching green where the cotton was spread
out to dry in the sun. Others such as the Mail Packet are survived by the milepost,
the house where the captain who ran it – Captain Owen, resided and his daughter
poetess Elisabeth Owen in Fairymount, or by the Hotel which was established to cater for
passengers, now Daisybank house. 
Perhaps Bolton’s lasting legacy was the
building of Faithlegg House.  It was
built in 1783 and the architect was believed to be John Roberts.  Roberts was responsible for some of the
finest buildings in Waterford at the time 
including the Bishop’s Palace, both cathedrals, City Hall,
Theatre Royal and my own favourite the Chamber of Commerce Building at the top
of Gladstone Street.  As Roberts had a country home in the Glen in Faithlegg, it would have been relatively easy
for him to oversee the work. There may be another connection, but one I only heard of, that Bolton paid for the spire on the protestant cathedral.
Although Cornelius would go on to try out
many initiatives to sustain his business ideas, none of his endeavours seems to
have paid off.  The slate quarries were
of poor quality, no Cobalt was found. The ending of the Napoleonic wars led to a slump in demand for textiles.  The 1798 uprising and the the act of Union must have also impacted. Perhaps the biggest impact was the shifting of the mail packet station downriver because of the delay in getting the ships to Cheeekpoint.

In a desperate attempt to stave off his creditors Bolton sold off parts of his operation and land, but ultimately he lost it all.  On March 1st 18163 he was forced to sell Faithlegg house
to repay part of his debts.  199 years ago this week.

He moved to Waterford and it was in the city that he died in 1829.  He is buried alongside his father and other members of the family in Old Faithlegg Church

Bolton’s plot and extended family, old Faithlegg Church

1  Ed Aalen FHA, Whelan K & Stout M.  Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape. 2003.  Cork University Press p 189

2   Ed Fewer TN, I was a Day in Waterford 2001.  Ballylough Books.  pp 49-53 (excerpt from Julian Walton)

3 “Links and Landmarks being a calendar for the year 1900 recording curious and remarkable events in the history of Waterford city from the earliest times to the present day ” compiled by M. J. Hurley
courtesy of Micheal O Sullivan Waterford History Group, without whom I would not have known this specific detail and who I would like to thank for the title.

Various people will have helped me with information for this piece who I can no longer recollect, but most recently Gerry Boland gave me some info on the Faithlegg Kilns which I was not aware of.

The 18th Century visits of Arthur Young

In the late 1700’s an English man visited the Faithlegg and Cheekpoint area and recorded all that he was shown in great detail. It was a chance visit however.  He had travelled from Curraghmore to Passage East with the intention of sailing via the Mail Packet Station to Bristol.  The captain made all manner of excuse not to sail though, and realising the delay was to build up a passenger manifest, the traveller decided to invite himself to Ballycanavan (Woodlands), then seat of the Bolton estate.

The travellers name was Arthur Young.  Young was an English farmer, adventurer and travel writer.  He actually visited the area twice; in 1776 and again in 1778.  He had a fascination for farm enhancement and enterprises and as he travelled the countryside he stayed as a guest with the landlords of an area and detailed all that he saw.  Of course he also provided observations and tips to his hosts, sharing his wisdom and suggesting improvements.  Although he was a guest he not averse to pointing out wrongdoing and his observations were highly regarded and are to this day an important social and historical record of the time.  He recorded and published this as “A Tour in Ireland 1776-1779” in 1780.  Various formats of the account here.

His visits coincided with the tenure of Cornelius Bolton the Elder and his son, and heir Cornelius the younger, who was his guide around the Bolton estate.  His
record is detailed in many matters including his visit to the Minaun from
whence he lists the main sights including 20 sailing ships in the estuary by
Passage East. 

Arthur in his prime

The only fishery he mentions for the
harbour is driftnetting for Herring. 
This is carried out in various sized boats with a crew of between 5 and
6 men.  Amongst the poor people, the
Fishermen we are told “…are in much the best circumstances”  He also lists as exports Turbot, Sole,
Lobster, Oyster, Cod and Salmon. 
Surprisingly in terms of modern times it is Salmon that fetches the
poorer price with Lobster next.  I
imagine that his remarking that the only fishery being Herring in the harbour
was a reflection on the time that he recorded the observation, October.  Had it been in the summer, it would
have been different.  Of course he has
also covered fishing elsewhere in his Irish travels and mentions Weirs and “Drag
nets” as two other methods.  Drag Nets I
imagine to refer to Draft Nets.

The Bolton’s and/or their tenants are
planting Potatoes, Oats, Barley and Wheat. 
For manure they are using mud from the river and lime from local limekilns.  Fields have been enclosed and
much land is being reclaimed.  He
particularly praises the building of hedges, with three layers of planting
including broadleaf such as Oak, Elm, Ash or the evergreen Fir.  The Bolton’s have planted almost 300 acres of
trees, including orchards, which he considers forward thinking and displaying commitment.  They are also providing long term leases to tenants
to work the land and have built 40 new houses with stone and slate to house
them.  He lists agricultural trials with Turnips,
Horse Beans and Carrots suggesting that in their practices the Bolton’s are
approaching the growing, tending and using of their crops in a scientific

Once Cornelius the younger succeeds his father he will develop an industrial hub at Cheekpoint building on the work that his father had started.  I will go through those developments in brief in the coming weeks.  But I can’t help wonder, was a source for those developments, not just the legacy of the landlord system that extracted the wealth of it’s peasantry, a legacy of his enterprising father, but also the company and wisdom of  a champion of the industrial age; Arthur Young.