Captain’s Grandy of Waterford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waterford Mail – Wednesday 22 August 1832; page 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waterford Chronicle – Saturday 05 December 1846; page 3

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

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

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

Imagine arts festival walk 2016 – A big River

As part of this years Imagine Arts Festival, Deena and I were asked to lead a walk in our local community on a theme reflecting our heritage and arts.  To do this we thought about the many songs, stories, poetry and prose that surround our area and reflect our rich maritime heritage. So the walk that departs this morning from Faithlegg Church at 11am is a walk that celebrates the big river, or more accurately rivers ( Barrow, Nore and Suir), that inspire and continually enrich our lives.

Our history stretches long back into antiquity.  Gael, Viking, Norman and English have entered the harbour here and used it as a route to open up the entire country.  When Ptolmy drew a map of the known world in 2 AD he included Ireland, and a River Birgos, long considered the Barrow.  The parish of Faithlegg itself was gifted to a Bristol merchant named Aylward following the entry of King Henry II through Waterford this past week in 1171.  Those Bristol men played a significant role in the development of the port, as did the Norman knights and religious orders that followed.
The Aylwards managed to weather many political storms until the arrival of Cromwell put and end to their reign of the area, when it passed to the Bolton family.  The last Bolton, Cornelius left us Faithlegg House which he sold to the catholic Powers in 1816.  We have the powers to thank for the modern church.  Throughout these times Waterford continued to trade and prosper.
Accessed from;
A sense of where the area was at is reflected in this piece from a man we have heard from before on the blog. Arthur Young, and his Tour in Ireland 1776-79 from which we take the following:
“The number of people who go as passengers in the Newfoundland ships is amazing; from 60-80 ships and from 3000 to 5000 persons annually.  They come from most parts of Ireland; from Cork Kerry etc.  Experienced men will get £18 to £25 for the season, from March to November; a man who never went will have £5 to £7 and his passage, and others rise to £20, the passage out they get but pay home £2.  An industrious man in a year will will bring home £12 to £16 with him, and some more.  A great point for them is to be able to carry all their slops (work clothes)for everything there is extremely dear, 100 or 200% dearer than they can get them at home.  They are not allowed to take out any woollen goods but for their own use.  The ships go loaded with porrk, beef, butter, and some salt, and bring home passengers, or get freights when they can; sometimes rum.

The Waterford pork comes principally from the barony of Iverk in Kilkenny, where they fatten great numbers of hogs; for many weeks together they kill here 3000 to 4000 a week, the price 50s. to £4 each; goers chiefly to Newfoundland.  There is a foundry at Waterford for pots, kettles, weights and all common utensils; and a manufactory of anvils to anchors etc., which employs 40 hands.  There are two sugar houses, and many salt-houses…
There is a fishery upon the coast for a great variety of fish, herrings, particularly at the mouth of Waterford Harbour…There are some premium boats here…
The butter trade of Waterford has increased greatly for seven years past; it comes from Waterford principally , but much from Carlow…the slaughter trade has increased…Eighty ships of sail now belonging to the port, twenty years ago not thirty…
The finest object is the quay, which is unrivaled by any I have seen…”

So Waterford as a city and the rivers that formed her harbour were a busy and prosperous place at this point, and it would continue to flourish long into the following century. But a variety of circumstances began to undermine that prosperity and I’m probably guilty of a lot of nostalgia in what I write when I reflect weekly on where we are now, not just as a city, or a port but also our once rich fisheries.  When ever I hear the Jimmy Nail song Big River, it stops me in my tracks as I listen to his elegy for the hard work and vitality that was the River Tyne and its heavy industry.  I don’t get any sense of what the future of the Tyne is in it however (lyrics here).  But I do get a sense of a future in our rivers.
Faithlegg Churches 13th & 19th C
Our walk this morning is not meant to be nostalgic.  It’s meant to communicate the rich history and heritage imbued in the buildings, pathways and vistas that surround us.  Its meant to explore what they once meant and what the yet might become.  It is story, song, poetry and prose of a past, a present and hopefully a future.

The walk is free and booking is via the Imagine Arts Festival Office at 083 313 3273 or email

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 to receive the blog every week.
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Rowing to the dance

If any one thread runs between my weekly blogs, it’s the rivers. Being at the meeting place of the three sisters, the Rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir, that’s probably not a surprise.  But in all those blogs, one I think has been missing, the social element of the rivers, the connections between its riverside communities and the activities it brought.

One of my earliest memories of this interconnection was as a nipper going in the punt with my Father, Bob and Uncle Sonny to a wake in Great Island, directly across the river in Co Wexford.  On reaching the quayside, I recall the fear of walking on the timber slated jetty, expecting I’d trip or fall down between the gaps. Next along the old road and under the Barrow Bridge, towering above me and worrying a train might come along.  All new and wondrous.  Then a concreted driveway, and a sweep down to an old two storey house, the driveway of which was lined with groups, predominately of men, and we stopped and talked to all. Into the house then and I have a memory of being wrapped up in female hospitality, ushered into a kitchen and a huge fuss being made, while the men went elsewhere.  Although only snatches of memory, the overall feeling was of acceptance and welcome.

My grandmother often talked about boating trips on the river and visiting “neighbours”.  In her glass case she kept her mementos amongst which for years was a carefully folded piece of newspaper, upon which was a poem. Occasionally she’d take it out as she reminisced about these trips, and at some point would include her reciting these lines called Dunbrody by Kathy Leach, a contemporary of hers, who lived in the High Street, Cheekpoint.

In the springtime and in the summer, autumn
and winter too.
I can see Dunbrody Abbey, nestling close
beside the Suir;
I can see Dunbrody Abbey standing there so
quiet and still,
sorrounded by the green fields, and the
banks of Campile Pill.
How we loved the Sunday evenings in the
summer long ago;
We urged the boys to get a boat, we coaxed
them for to row.
They were great navigators, we never had a
But sure we were delighted when we got
through Campile Pill.
Then we went to see the Abbey, it looked so
peaceful there.
It is a sacred place, where holy monks did
We thought it part of heaven as we went on
our way.
Up to Horeswood Chapel, where the bell rings
every day.
When I hear the angelus bell ring, now
calling all to pray,
it brings back golden memories of bygone
happy days;
The old friends are all scattered now, some
are dead and gone.
But rememberance of Dunbrody will forever
linger on.
And of course there were events such as the regattas which I covered recently and the dances in the village.  Not just in the Reading Room, but also at the cross roads and on the village green and on the strand road.  I haven’t a notion how they were organised, but have no doubt but that was as easy to promote and we would find it now.  Passed by boat to boat, person to person, or maybe prearranged and agreed in a cyclical fashion. Apparently they would try to match the prevailing tides and would travel the rivers to Glass house, Ballinlaw, Great Island, Campile, Ballyhack and beyond. My father told me he could recall the stage being brought from the Reading Room to the Green. Apparently a great fuss was made to have the village looking at its best. And then via the river they came, in punt prong and sailing yawl and pleasure craft and an evening of song, music and dancing was enjoyed long into the summer nights. I’ve never seen a photo of it, but below is one I came across in a book called Lismore by Eugene F Dennis, which might give a sense.

As a consequence of the fishing, the travel and the social outings the communities of the river were much closer in the past.  Marriage between the villages was more common and those ties strengthened the bonds between us.  My Grandmother (her Grandfather was a Malone of Clearystown below New Ross) was often to be heard commenting on the happenings over in Nuke(directly across from the Russianside, in Co Wexford).  Maybe it was the Whitty’s and whether the boats were moored off, or fishing.  Or compliment Mrs Murphy having the smoke out early in the morning, or maybe that there was a light on overnight in Shalloes and wondering if anyone was sick. I can often recall Josie Whitty of Nuke, who died earlier this year herself, attending local funerals in Faithlegg.
But this last generation has seen a dramatic shift in this connection to the rivers.  The loss of the fishing has certainly played a decisive role, but already the old traditional ways were under threat. Perhaps even more so its being faced with so many options and activities, that the simpler pleasures have been lost.  Odd when you think that we have never had such great opportunities to communicate, that those that are a little more than a half mile away now feel so distant. 
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Meeting of the “Three Sisters”

After 50 years of living with the geographical feature that is the meeting of the Three Sisters, you might think that I would take it for granted at this point. Truth is though, I can’t ever remember a time that the rivers fail to interest me.  Ever changing and always with some activity occurring around it, it’s either been a central feature to my days or a beautiful and appreciated backdrop.  Of course leading walking tours in the area, the uniqueness of it is reminded to me by those visitors who view it, especially for the first time. The reaction seems more pronounced from those who walk from Faithlegg House, along the Glen and through the Glazing Wood.  I guess its because they have been sheltered and teased by fleeting glimpses through the forest of the River Suir passing 200 feet below them, which will collide with the Rivers Barrow and Nore at Cheekpoint, and then flow as one out the estuary to form Waterford Harbour.
An old postcard view of the meeting of the Three Sisters
copy supplied by Anthony Rogers

These days when people talk about coming to Cheekpoint it’s to get a meal at McAlpins, to visit the wonderful playground, do shore angling or play a round Faithlegg Golf Club. But there was a time when it was the scenery, the views and the meeting point of the rivers that drew people here. Numerous reports from older newspapers and travel writers give a sense of why.

Cheekpoint: This is a favorite little retreat now on Sundays. On last Sunday it was crowded with boats of all kinds and sizes, amongst which we observed Alderman Davis’s, Mr P. Galwey’s, the Messrs Murphys’ Mr F Kavanagh’s (with music), Mr J Mullowney’s, Mr S Allan’s, and Mr E Campion’s neat crafts and many others now not remembered. The hospitable mansion of Mr Patrick Tracey, so comfortable situate, and in which is to had such right good cheer, was crowded to overflowing. The day was beautifully fine, the waters of the rivers calm and limpid, and the gorgeous scenery by which it is surrounded, could hardly be excelled – if at all equaled – on the banks of the Rhine. A view from Cheekpoint is well worth the labor of ascension – you behold from it at least five counties-namely Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Carlow; you witness from it the delightful mansion of Snow Hill, Belview etc, and beneath you, you witness the magnificent residence of Faithlegg, with its thickly studded woods, its beauteous walks, and its sloping dells, where by and by, the Incumbered Commissioners need never expect to place their fearful hoofs. From the hill can be seen Dunmore, Brownstown Head, the unrivaled bay of Tramore, and even the unmovable Metal man himself. From it may also be witnessed the fine stately old ruins of Dunbrody Abbey, with its stately tower and ivied turrets, a standing monument of Irish genius and architecture and an unfading emblem of Ireland’s imperishable faith…All of these things may be seen from the hill of Cheekpoint, and many of them from Mr Tracey’s table d’hote.
The Waterford News. Friday June 7th 1850

Mr Tracey’s table d’hote, Daisybank House

The same paper has, under a heading of pleasure trips, news that the Young Men’s Society band will travel to Cheekpoint on the following Sunday, in a piece dated July of 1861,  Unfortunately I could not find a follow up report.  In the 1770s it was the renowned travel writer Arthur Young, and I have mentioned his thoughts on the area previously. I’ve also mentioned when the Barrow railway viaduct was opened in July 1906 by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the the special event train, stopped for a time on the bridge to view the meeting point and absorb the feat that the construction project was. 

More recently the regional initiative for Ireland’s capital of culture bid for 2020 has seen the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford come together under a banner that seeks to embrace. They have chosen the Three Sisters, as it was, correctly in my view, a symbol of connection and inter- dependability. Should the region win this bid, it will bring crucial investment and tourist numbers to the region, and no doubt our area. If nothing else, it has already brought a renewed focus on the wonderful resource that is our riverine network and the beauty that is the meeting point of the Three Sisters. If you haven’t already done so, get involved in supporting the bid at:

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 to receive the blog every week.
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The Prong – curious and unique boat of the Three Rivers

As a child there was many sights that I took for granted in a traditional fishing community such as Cheekpoint.   Sights like men repairing nets, beam trawls laid out on the village green, weir poles at high water mark and timber boats of all shapes and descriptions.  Of the boats, the most curious and interesting was the Prong.  A boat, shaped like a halved bottle and with a hull akin to a barrel, which every fishing family in the village had once owned.
Michael “Spud” Murphy & Chris Doherty rowing
Paddy Doherty’s Prong 2005
The uniqueness of the Prong, was that unlike the other boats, it didn’t possess a keel.  The lack of this meant that although hard to handle to the inexperienced, it would sit upright when grounded on the typical mud banks on the estuary.  It also allowed the Prong to move on the mud. Essentially the Prong was a boat that could be launched into the river at any time of tide once sitting on a mud bank. This made it ideal in areas upriver from Ballyhack and Passage East and all the way to New Ross on the Barrow and Waterford on the Suir. (Above these the cot reigned supreme).  In uses the Prong was versatile.  It was a fishing boat, a work boat, a transport vessel and used for social outings, and originally came in all manner of sizes.
A Prong in the City early 20th C
via Paul O’Farrell WHG
In the eighties the Prong was a diminishing craft.  As much because of the decrease in men fishing as much probably as men who could repair them.  One man who fished until he retired was Paddy “batty” Doherty who daily went to his eel pots throughout my childhood and it’s Paddy launching his Prong from below the lower quay at Cheekpoint that I recall the most.
Via Andy Kelly on Cheekpoint FB site
Animal transportation at Little island early 20th C
Typically the men would walk out through the mud, retrieving the anchor and mooring line as they went.  The Prong was then rocked to break the grip between hull and mud.  This done the bow was turned until it faced the river and then the men, or man in Paddy’s case, would sit astride the gunwale near the stern and push off.  The Prong would slide down the mud bank and enter the river with a splash.  The mud was washed off the boots before they were brought aboard and then away to fish.
My gran uncle Willie Moran retired from New York in the late eighties and I still recall that conversation one day between Paddy and my Father on Ryans shore, as Willie effortlessly rowed the Moran Prong up to Moran’s Poles with a boat full of driftwood.  “Begod” said Paddy with some respect, “the yanks couldn’t take the river out of that man”
Moran’s Prong 1950’s
I once asked my Father about the origins of the Prong.  He had a tale that the first Prong in the harbour came from a Norwegian sailing ship. The crew were at anchor at Cheekpoint and came in to gather shellfish to eat.  They landed the Prong, and the tide went out, to the amusement of the locals. A crowd gathered to laugh at the Scandinavians, but mouths fell open when the sailors stepped aboard and pushed off to the River.  The value was immediately realised. My Father of course in typical fashion went on to relate how they planned a way to separate the Norwegians from their craft, but he was probably telling me a yarn.  It may all have been, but I like to think there’s a grain of truth to it, as there inevitably was in any story he told us.
Paddy Doherty’s Prong was patched up by Pat Moran in 2005 as part of a cultural exchange with Newfoundland.  We managed to get two other Prongs to make a launch re-enactment and race which was kindly recorded by my friend Brian Walsh of HiLite TV.  It still gives me a lift to see it, and I would dearly love to see it done again before too long.
A prong in the foreground of this interesting scene SS Rathlin
aground at Little island.  Via Tomas Sullivan W Martitime page
When researching the Prong in 2004 the closest boat internationally that I could find was called a Prame.  Chatham’s Dictionary of the Worlds watercraft gives about two pages to boats of the same or similar name. Although Scandinavia is included as a place of origin, so too is Holland, the Baltic, France, and as far as the Balkans.  Most accounts describe a similar boat, although many are clinker built.  Again, in Cheekpoint is an old story that some of the earlier Prongs were clinker built, but were discarded because they made to much noise when fishing at night.  Interestingly, I came across an account of the Cheekpoint Regatta recently in the Munster Express of 14/9/1895 which lists the winners of a Praem race! Of the name used in the area of the Three Sisters, I can only imagine that it is a phonetic derivative of the original.

Blessing of Boats Cheekpoint 1930’s, note very large Prong

A booklet I edited in 2004 was referenced and used in the Traditional Boats of Ireland specifically in a section dealing with the Traditional Boats of Waterford Estuary.  In recent times a successful effort was made by Micheal Bance, John Gossip, John Murphy and Peter Mulligans to build a prong. Again Brian Walsh was on hand to record it.  More on the Woodstown Prong building here.  And most recently again, the Connolly family, who inherited Paddy Doherty’s prong have started to have the boat restored.  My Uncles, Sonny Doherty, Prong now resides in National Museum of Country Life in Mayo.

Prongs, punts and yawls were a hallmark of Waterford harbour.  They have died out as the uses, and the men who used them, have.  They were culturally significant, if not unique and to loose them from the water is to my mind a heritage loss.  We’ve now started to realise the value of our churches, graveyards and built environment, Hopefully the value of our fishing communities in the harbour will be too.

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 to receive the blog every week.
My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
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Mariners Museum.  A Dictionary of the Worlds Watercraft. 2000 Chatham.  London.
Críostóir Mac Carthaigh Ed.  Traditional Boats of Ireland.  2008.  Collins Press.  Cork