Tides n Tales moves to a monthly format

In May I came to the difficult decision to change my weekly martime blog to a monthly publication.  Several people have asked me why and so I thought it best to set out my thoughts and reasons. 

I first started blogging when in college as a mature student studying community education and development.  Journaling was a personal development tool used on the course, allowing students to reflect and intertwine theories and concepts used, into the everyday language and practice of the student. It also provided a space where a tutor can see that assimilation. I tended to write copious notes, and delighted in rewriting these into what I hoped was a cohesive narrative.

A print of Waterford looking westwards from Dunmore Road area dated to circa 1831. Its an engraving by W. Taylor from a print by W.H. Bartlett and I understand it comes origially from a publication called Ireland Illustrated.

When I commenced with the tour guiding of Russianside Tours I decided to continue the practice, seeing in it a valuable way to record the information, knowledge and skills I had gained over my years in the locality.  It came as a complete surprise when I shared these on social media and got a positive reaction. Eventually this grew to include the wider community of the rivers and its villages. In embracing the wider communities, I moved to Waterford Harbour Tides & Tales. Late last year, with the support of Ronan Cleary of Eagle Dreams, I self funded a new website.  Who was I to start researching and writing this I thought, yet who better?  No one else seems minded to.

In those four years I have, along with those guest blogs, contributed 277 stories (so far) to showcase the areas rich maritime heritage traveling the lengths of the Suir and Barrow and as long as Kilmore on the Wexford shore and Bunmahon on the Waterford coast.  Some stories had thousands of viewers, some hundreds, but I have enjoyed putting each and every one of them together.

An old advert, of an old website, I managed somehow to create myself

The fulfilling part is knowing that many people enjoy the stories as much as I do, the feedback is gratifying and the offers of extra information and access to peoples private documents is, at times, humbling.  This week alone I received emails from America, South Africa, Australia and the UK.  Visited people in New Ross, Great Island, Dunmore and took trips to Lismore and Clonmel.  The kindest offer this week was an opportunity to take a boat trip around the Amsterdam canal system whenever I get to visit. 

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of course is the friendships and the support along the way. All those who have liked, commented and shared a story are supporting me in a very real way. And then of course there are those who are regularly available with IT advice and information. Too many to mention personally, but I have to acknowledge people like Frank Murphy, Brendan Grogan, Andy Kelly, David O’Carroll, Maurice Power, Brian Boyce, Tomás Sullivan, Brian Cleare, Paul O’Farrell and John Flynn who go out of their way to help me source information at a personal cost to themselves in terms of their time. Then there’s my cousin Jim Doherty, who doesn’t let a week pass without a call and some advice or other on a particular story or lead.

If I had one reaction to readers who don’t know me personally, when meeting me for the first time, its surprise.  In general they thought I must be retired to be putting so much obvious time and energy into the stories.  (It’s why I started putting my photo on some of them in recent months – it wasn’t vanity!!) Truth is I work a three day week and although I had hoped I might develop an income from my obvious passion, the opposite has occurred…Its costing me actual money and hours per week. I know it’s a passion, and it’s worthwhile, and if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life and all those memes you see on facebook but…!

so much time, energy and enthusiasm…

So over the last few months I’ve explored how I might retain what I love doing but pay the bills.  Not just that but allow me to grow what I do.  I have a few ideas, all of them based on the maritime heritage of my area, mostly from the perspective of enhancing not just my situation, but the situation of others in the harbour villages.  My deep fear is that I will start down a path that will just cost me more, but if I don’t start down the path I’ll never know if I can make a real difference in terms of the harbours rich cultural heritage. 

I’m also working on a chapter for a forthcoming history book for the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society, hope to contribute a chapter to this years Deice’s, am part of the editorial team supporting David Carroll on a history of the Dunmore East Lifeboat and am up to my oxters with the local development group in trying to enhance the local community, and an officer on the committee of the local boat owners assoc. in trying to provide pontoon access at Cheekpoint for river craft.

Stay tuned, my new blog format commences Friday 28th June…a story of a ship wreck in the harbour that made national headlines for all the wrong reasons.  Oh and my new book.  I’m currently finalising the photographs, and trying to get some sponsorship to help with costs.  Come hell or high water I’m launching September 2019. 

Not vanity! How could I be vain with a head like that!!

How far the Tide drifted

Welcome to my online gall

ery.  It arose from a post by Maria Doyle, originally from Ballyhack. She suggested a photo library taken of my book cover from wherever people read it.  And the title of this online gallery is suggested by Maria too. Please feel free to participate by sending a photo via email or post to my facebook page or twitter page, details below. I will try to include everyone’s submission along with any description you see fit to share. I will update the content as often as time and submissions allow 🙂

October 30th 2017 Maria Doyle

From a winter break in Abu Dhabi. Via Maria Doyle

November 1st 2017 David Carroll

November 1st 2017 c 4.30pm Sandymount Strand Dublin, the tide definitely out!

My second contributor is David Carroll a regular on the page.  David added the following:

“Sandymount Strand made famous by another writer, James Joyce as it was the starting point for Ulysses June 16th 1904! Howth head in background and the two Poolbeg Towers behind. Sandymount is also the location of Mulligans Pub, a very welcoming stop-off for many Deise folk up in Dublin for soccer and hurling matches”

4th November 2017 Ryan Doherty

Ashling Doherty at Tappan Zee Bridge, Hudson River New York
This from my cousin Ryan who was reared in New York but features in the book as he was on holiday in Cheekpoint in 1989 and was a regular on the river with Michael “Spud” Murphy and I. He even shot some wonderful video back then, that is still looked on fondly to this day.

Ryan says “This is the Tappan Zee Bridge 30 miles north of New York City. The original iron bridge in the background built in the 1950’s now closed with the new Tappan Zee opened in 2017. I thought that appropriate and very fitting. Change everywhere”

6th November 2017 Anne Keough Keehn

Anne Keough Keehn and Liz Hutchinson, my two super models who dared the winter rains in
Washington DC 
Liz and her husband Michael very kindly came to the launch in Jack Meades and got some signed copies to take to America for their visit to a relation Anne Keough Keehn. Annes relatives came from Waterford including Cheekpoint and we have an ancestor in common, my great grandmother on my dads side, Ellen Doherty nee Walsh of the Russianside!

6th November 2017 Avril Bowe

A Prague Reading!
Dean Gunnip (Coolbunnia) and his dad Pat were in Prague over the weekend and they had the book along for?…  Well I’m not sure what they had the book along for, but I’m delighted to get this photo from them. Thanks lads

6th November 2017 Maria McMullen

Jerry & Maria enjoying some wintry sun

Maria’s dad hailed from the Cross Roads Cheekpoint originally and we meat during the year on one of our local places and people tours.  Her husband Jerry originally hailed from the ‘real’ capital, and he’s a genuine rebel/  Maria says “Enjoying Andrew Doherty’s book Before the tide went out takes me back to lovely times spent in Cheekpoint Waterford.Saved my book for my trip to Ramsgate Kent and the weather is lovely.”

9th November 2017  Brendan Doherty & Family.  

Musician Brendan Doherty showing off his copy on Atlantic Beach Florida.  Brendan grew up in Faithlegg only a mile away from here, but he has sure seen a lot of the world.  Weather looks beautiful…tough life man!

10th November 2017.  Carmel Jacob

Special delivery today to Carmel and her Brother Clem, at his business premises of Clem Hire.  We grew up together in Cheekpoint.  Apparently the book was supposed to be a surprise for Clem for Christmas!  He was reading it as I left…

10th November 2017  Julie Ward

Its nice to see the staff at Ardkeen Quality Foodstores getting a break from all their hard work especially at 6pm on a busy Friday afternoon.  Their star barista Joe Foley seems to be taking it all in his stride.

12th November 2017 Anne Keough Keehn 

Anne seems to be bringing her copy on holidays with her too…this from the Iguazú Falls, Argentina

19th November 2017 Eamonn Doolan

Eamonn sent on this interesting image from Lowestoft in England. Its the most easterly point in the UK but I think Eamonn was possibly drawing a paralle between it and the theme of my own book. Like Waterford harbour Lowestoft has evidence of one of the earliest settlements in the UK and also like the harbour it was famed for its rich fishery. Sadly now much diminished, but at least they have an oil industry…for now.

Eamonn also posted a review of my book on Facebook recently.  I will leave the last words with him:

Well I have read the book and re read some of the chapters in this book, what a fantastic insight into the thoughts of a young lad growing up in a small fishing village in Cheekpoint Co Waterford, and I loved his tales of the stories that were told by the older members of the community, and although I have never set foot in a fishing boat I felt in reading his words I was with him on some of his outings! although I would have been hanging over the side of the boat!! no sea legs!! well done Andrew for reminding us all that life on the river or sea can be a wonderful thing but can also be a life changer! chapter sixteen. RIP Joseph.

8th December 2017. Edmund Hanlon.
A distant relation Ed Hanlon, connected with the Hanlon family of Coolbunnia photographed outside the
Whitehouse at Christmas time.  

Ed quipped, in a swipe at the present President “Here’s a photo for your global readership gallery. My guess is that the guy living in the house behind me will prefer to wait for the film adaptation”  

7th January 2018. Joan Cosgrove

Joan and her husband Bob, from Longview, Washington on the Columbia River were one of the first to buy an e book, and quickly followed it up with a physical copy. They came to Ireland in 2014 (photo above of them in Kilarney), and met with Maria Doyle in Ballyhack as Bob was tracing his Irish routes in the village. Seasoned travelers in their 80’s, hopefully they make it back again soon.

8th January 2018. Ronan Allen

Ronan kindly sent on the photo above, and chose a very fitting spot in Australia as a backdrop: “Attached is a photo of the book being read at the Fishermans Memorial in Freemantle Western Australia. There is a commemoration here on Wednesday to honour the Fenians that arrived on the last convict ship 150 years ago”

January 15th 2018. Jacinta Doherty Lorimer

What Jacinta said from Stanley Park in Vancourver: “So here is your book overlooking “ Lionsgate Bridge “ in Vancouver , it connects downtown Vancouver to “ The North Shore” the mountain behind is Grouse Mountain- as you can see there is a few mountains – collectively the are called the lions – hence lions gate bridge. The Bridge was built by the GUINNESS family ( yes them Guinness The land I’m standing on was native land many moons ago , they were pushed off and were giving land across the bridge. There is still a reservation settlement there to this day, it’s bitter sweet , the land they vacated is now a national park worth millions ( if not billions ) in property value, but the land they were given is also worth millions now, you could never afford to buy it … Although I wish they would change the name back to the band of natives that once lived there.”  
It’s an interesting link to the theme of the book, a culture and way of life being removed!

How Far the Tide Drifted has certainly taken me to some far off places and this week its Yamhill, Oregon.  Thanks to Joan and Janet (photographed) Cosgrove for going to the bother of posting this photo.  Yamhill is apparently noted for its cherry’s and sheep, here’s some extra info too  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamhill,_Oregon

May 16th 2018 Frank and Ann Murphy

Frank and his wife Ann, who took the photo, travelled by train to Limerick and while there beside the banks of the Shannon and overlooking John’s Castle he paused for a photo.  Of the trip, Frank had this to say; “In my youth Co. Limerick & City were probably more familiar to me than Waterford. A different social story but like your own consigned to history.  I know my Mum would have enjoyed a good read of the book. Hence my trip there. (A home away from home in my youth.)”  Frank has been a long term supporter of my work, including the book and I very much appreciated the photo. 

August 9th 2018 Yvette Davis

An appropriate sculpture as a background I must say. Eoghan Hegarty and his children Donnacha and Alice pose with my book at Memensha, Martha’s Vineyard while on a family holiday to relatives.  Who got a copy of the book for Christmas I’m told.  Many thanks guys, and many thanks to Yvette for taking the photo and passing it along.  I think Donnacha is checking if I have it uploaded yet 🙂

26th July 2018 Anne Keough Keehn

Anne presenting the book to Deputy of Mission, Michael Lonergan, for the Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall, in Washington DC.  Was hoping for an invite given that Dan is a fellow Waterford man, who knows maybe in the future!

Tomás Sullivan. 25th September 2018

Tomás Sullivan sent this along whilst working as a safety boatman on the new Barrow bridge which is crossing the river below New Ross.  It was early morning, and a very calm river 

Mark Baldwin 1st November 2018

Mark sent on this image of the book from Cape Town, South Africa via his brother in law Andrew Lloyd aka Bob the Scientist, a fellow blogger and home educator.  I had the pleasure of Marks company previously when Deena and I did a family reunion walk for the Baldwins, organised by Andrews wife Leonie. The Baldwins had earlier lived close to Jack Meades and Knockroe and are related to the Baldwins of Passage East. No strangers to fish then!

I publish a blog each Friday.  If you like this piece or have an interest in the local history or maritime heritage of Waterford harbour and environs you can email me at russianside@gmail.com to receive the blog every week.
My Facebook and Twitter pages are more contemporary and reflect not just heritage 
and history but the daily happenings in our beautiful harbour:  
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales

All Ireland Sunday – Getting to the match

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

Misadventure on the SS Pembroke, 1899

The SS Pembroke was one of a proud fleet of ships of the Great Western Railway company which carried passengers, freight and mails between Waterford and the UK. While en route to Waterford in February of 1899 she encountered dense fog and ran aground on the Saltee Islands, sparking a major rescue and salvage operation.
SS Pembroke heading inbound to Waterford, Flying huntsman ahead.
AH Poole Collection NLI


The SS Pembroke was built by Laird Brothers of Birkenhead, in the year 1880. She was originally a paddle steamer, but in 1896 she was altered by the shipyard into a twin screw steamship as shown above. She was operated by the Great Western Railway Company and did regular sailings on the Waterford to Milford Haven route, latterly Fishguard, and as such would have been a regular sight to the people of the city and the harbour.
SS Pembroke departed Milford port on the 18th February 1899 with 28 passengers, a crew of 30, the mails, and a cargo of 28 tons. The ship was under the command of Captain John Driver. At 6.19am the ship was forced to reduce speed having encountered dense fog off the Wexford coast. At about 6.30am the Master spotted breakers ahead, and immediately ordered the engines to full astern. The response came to late and she struck land.
Aground on North Saltee- AH Poole Collection NLI


A passenger takes up the story; “…we were thrown out of our bunks onto the cabin floor. For a few seconds we heard a terrible sound underneath the vessel.  The rest of the passengers thought that the vessel had collided with another vessel and was sinking…When we got on deck, other passengers were huddled together in a group, half dressed. Among the passengers were some ladies, who seemed very calm, while male passengers were running about in terror. The captain ordered the boats to be launched and by 7 o clock all the passengers were landed on the island”(1)
The land they encountered was one of the Saltee Islands and there were two men staying on the island at the time (William Culleton and Anthony Morgan).  These men guided the ships boats in, and treated the passengers to tea and tried to make them comfortable. The second mate then set off in a ships boat for Kilmore Quay where he raised the alarm by telegram to Waterford. The entire fishing fleet set to sea and the tug “Flying Huntsman” part of the Waterford Steamship Co fleet which was then at Dunmore responded and eventually took on the passengers, cargo and the mail and brought all to Waterford that same day.(2)
Paddle tug, Flying Huntsman at Limerick,
courtesy of Frank Cheevers and NLI

A man named Ensor from Queenstown (Dun Laoghaire) was engaged as salvor and it was considered feasible to refloat the ship.  This was achieved five days later on the 23rd Feb and under the Pembroke’s own steam, but with several tugs on stand-by, she was brought into Waterford harbour and up to Cheekpoint.(3)

Aground again, but purposely
AH Poole Collection NLI


Inspection in progress – AH Poole Collection NLI


She was re-grounded at the Strand Road, above the main quay at Cheekpoint, and it seems that it was a major draw for city and country people alike.* The photo above shows clearly the benefit of re grounding the vessel as a full view could be got of the damage and temporary repairs could be carried out.

The Pembroke sailed down the harbour for Lairds of Liverpool for repair on Saturday 4th March. Again she sailed under her own steam and safely got across the Irish sea, but sprung a leak off Liverpool and had to call to Hollyhead for emergency repairs.(4)

The subsequent inquiry into the incident was held at the Guildhall in Westminister on March 29th 1899.  It found that the ships Master, John Driver, made insufficient allowance for the tide which appeared to be running abnormally strong on the morning of the grounding. They found that he did not reduce speed sufficiently and should have cast a lead when unsure of his position.  However after a previous unblemished career of 39 years, the tribunal made no ruling on his position saying that he was “entitled to the confidence of his employers”

The Pembroke returned to service the Irish Sea and continued up until 1916. In that year she was given over to general cargo runs.  She survived the war, having at least one near brush with a U Boat which she managed to outrun. She survived the war but following 45 years of loyal service she was sold for scrap in 1925.

*  If you follow the links under each photo it will bring you to the NLI website and you may then zoom in on each photo where you will get a good sense of the crowds at Cheekpoint.  There is also a great view of a paddle steam tug ahead of the Pembroke as she departs above Passage.

The original story was passed on to me by Tomás Sullivan Cheekpoint.

(1),(2) & (3)John Power – A Maritime History of County Wexford Vol 1(2011) pp 377- 381
(4). Waterford Standard. Wednesday March 8th 1899

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 tidesandtales@gmail.com 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:
F https://www.facebook.com/whtidesntales  T https://twitter.com/tidesntales