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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today, for the first time ever, I saw a Grey Squirrel locally. In the previous eleven years, I have only seen three red squirrels, at three different locations nearby. I reported same to the Waterford Institute of Technology, where a Squirrel Project is ongoing for some time. Their internet page says the first documented sighting of a Grey Squirrel in County Waterford was just a few years ago, in 2007.

See what they have to say at:

Also check out the Waterford County Council website which has further information:

It is exactly 100 years since the first Grey Squirrels, now becoming more than a nuisance, were introduced to this country.

You can see them (Greys) in plenty in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, where they are fed by visitors. Only other place in this country I saw a Grey was in a cemetery in Skerries, County Dublin.

I first saw Grey Squirrels, much to my surprise, in the grounds of the United Nations Centre, New York, in 1980 approx!

Addendum 18.02.11:-

The Mammal Ecology Group, of NUI Galway, has just launched an exciting new project examining the relationships between three woodland mammal species in Ireland; the native red squirrel and pine marten, and the introduced grey squirrel. This project aims to increase our understanding of the ecology of all three animals, and help in the conservation of the two native species.

If you have been seeing any of the mammals mentioned, you can help with a survey being carried out by the project. Simply check out:-

The above URLs should be copied and pasted into your browser, Internet Explorer, or whatever.

Monday, February 7, 2011

093. The Portlaw - Egypt Connection.

With Egypt in the news around the clock on worldwide TV stations at the present time, did you know that there is a Portlaw connection with that country?
The answer can be found on a memorial plaque at Clonagam Church, Portlaw.

Lieutenant-Commander, Lord Hugh Tristram de la Poer Beresford,  born in 1908, was son of the Sixth Marquess of Waterford, Henry de la Poer Beresford and Lady Beatrix Frances Petty-Fitzmaurice.
He had enlisted in the Royal Navy and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.
During Wordl War II, whilst serving aboard the H.M.S. Kelly, he was killed in action off the island of Crete. He was buried in Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt, on 27th June 1941.

092. The Beauty of Winter.

The beauty of Winter at Carrick Gate-Lodge.

091. Curraghmore Sheep.

A pleasant pastoral scene in Curraghmore on 28th November 2006.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

090a Gerry Adams' Visit to Portlaw.

The first in a series of 19 (nineteen) pictures taken during the visit of
the then-Hon. Gerry Adams, M.P., M.L.A., President of Sinn Féin,
during his visit to Portlaw on 26th May 2006.

The visit was hosted by the
Keating-Sands Sinn Féin Cumman, Ballyduff-Portlaw,
who were simultaneously celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the cumann.

Read about Gerry's visit to the Waterford area on the Munster Express at:

Note:  Gerry has recently resigned from both parliamentary positions,  and is contesting the Irish General Election, which is approaching rapidly!  

All pictures will enlarge on twice left-clicking on them.

Awaiting Gerry's arrival at the Community Hall.  

Address of Welcome by Chrissie Phelan.

Jackie Phelan's Address.

Gerry's address.

Presentation to Jackie Phelan, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the local cumann (branch) of Sinn Fén.

The Two Gerrys!

Gerry Adams  and Fr. Gerry O'Connor, the then-Curate in Portlaw.
A cheque for €500 changing hands! 
Now, what's all this about?
(see bottom line in this series of pictures)

Presentation of one of my pictures to Gerry Adams
by the local Sinn Féin cumann.

The Phelan Family of Brownswood.

Gerry, Assumpta and Peter Phelan.

Signing copies of his autobiography.

With some of the male residents in the local Martin Hospital.

With female residents in the local Martin Hospital.

Conversing with Fintan Dermody of Mooncoin,
prior to departing from Portlaw.


The €500 cheque, the proceeds of a recent Table Quiz organised by the
Keating-Sands Cumann of Sinn Féin, 
was a donation  towards the running costs of the Community Hall.  


089. Guilcagh Field Trees.

The Guilcagh Field, like the rest of Curraghmore Estate, has some attractive parkland trees.
Here are a few examples taken one morning in the winter of 2006.  

The first time I photographed a tree in this field was about 1980, but it fell down and has disappeared.         It may have been struck by lightning.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

088. Clonagam & Guilcagh Parishes.

from a
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Topographical Dictionary of Ireland
Comprising the
several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate, market, and post towns, parishes, and villages:
BY Samuel Lewis.
Published in London, 1837.

CLONEGAM, a parish, in the barony of UPPER-THIRD, county of WATERFORD, and province of MUNSTER, 4 ½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Carrick-on-Suir; containing 2220 inhabitants.  This parish, which is situated near the river Suir, comprises 4800 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and is chiefly demesne land attached to Curraghmore, the splendid seat of the Marquess of Waterford.  The ancient castle of Curraghmore, which now forms part of the present mansion, was attacked by Cromwell in his retreat from Waterford, in 1649, and surrendered on honourable terms. Curraghmore is situated about two miles south of the river Suir, and in the vale of the Clodagh, a small stream that descends from the mountains; and is approached between two extensive ranges of offices connected by the ancient castle front, on the parapet of which is a large figure of a stag, the crest of the Beresford family.  The ancient castle has been in the lower part converted into a magnificent hall, and in the upper into a stately and superb apartment, called the castle room.  In the rear of it is the more modern and spacious mansion, erected by the great-grandfather of the present marquess, commanding a rich and extensive view, in the foreground of which, at the extremity of the town, is a large artificial lake; and in the distance, the stupendous and rugged mountains of Moanewollagh.  The private pleasure grounds between the house and the river Clodagh are extensive and beautifully laid out; and a broad gravel walk leading from them is continued along the bank of the river, to which the gardens extend.  The demesne, which comprises 4000 acres, is richly ornamented with stately timber in such profusion, as in some parts to form woods of very great extent and luxuriant growth.  This magnificent seat is pre-eminently distinguished for the natural grandeur of its scenery, diversified with lofty hills, rich vales, and dense woods, combining every variety of rural beauty with features of romantic and picturesque character.  The other seats are Rocketts Castle, the residence of the Rev. J. T. Medlycott ; Mayfield, of J. Malcomson, Esq. ; Mil-ford, of A. Labertouche, Esq. ; and Mount Bolton, of J. Bolton, Esq.  The river Clodagh, which separates the parish from those of Kilmeadon and Guilcagh, is navigable for boats of any size for three miles from its junction with the Suir, and at a short distance from Curraghmore forms a considerable picturesque waterfall and salmon leap.
The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Lismore, episcopally united, in 1801, to that of Newtown-Lennan, together forming the union of Clonegam, in the patronage of the Crown:  the tithes of the parish amount to £300 and the entire tithes of the benefice to £741. 9. 5.  There is neither glebe-house nor glebe. The church, situated on the side of a hill, was rebuilt by the grandfather of the present marquess, in 1794:  it is an elegant small edifice;  the windows are of stained glass, and the west window is particularly fine, representing in its various compartments some of the most interesting subjects of sacred history.  The churchyard is the burial-place of this noble family ;  and on the summit of the hill above the church is a round tower, erected by the grandfather of the present marquess, in memory of his eldest son, who was killed at the age of thirteen : it was intended to raise it to the height of 120 feet, but it was left unfinished at an elevation of 70 feet.  Near the tower lies the great west window of the old cathedral of Waterford which it was intended to incorporate in an artificial ecclesiastical ruin, to form a characteristic group with the round tower.  In the R. C. divisions this parish forms part of the union or district of Carrick-on-Suir.  At the gatehouse of Curraghmore is a handsome modern building, erected by the Marchioness of Waterford as a school for the children of the neighbouring peasantry, and supported by the Marquess ; there is a school established and partly supported by Messrs. Malcomson, in which are 60 boys and 20 girls ;  and there are two private schools, in which are about 90 boys and 30 girls. On an eminence commanding a fine view of the Earl of Besborough's improvements, on the opposite side of the river Suir, is an erect stone of large dimensions, concerning which many strange traditions are prevalent in the neighbourhood ;  and about 40 yards distant are three subterranean apartments, which were discovered in 1810.
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N.B. In typing this article, I have used the very same spelling and punctuation throughout, as in the original book. I have highlighted six words/phrases in red/blue viz 
(1)  Clonegam . . .  please note, in case you are doing genealogical research, that the spelling Clonagam, was also used.
 (2) Clodagh . . . Lewis did not use  Clodiagh, as used by the Malcomsons and others. In fact, Clodagh, is more like the Gaelic Clóideach, meaning ‘mountain torrent’.
(3)   Moanewollagh . . . (nowadays usually Monavullagh from the Gaelic – Móin a’ Mhullaigh, meaning – Bog of the Hill or Mound). I always thought the Monavullaghs were at the western end of the Comeraghs, but here Lewis is describing the view from Clonagam which faces the eastern side of the Comeraghs. Having read numerous references to  the two names, I’m now more confused than ever as to which area the name Monavullagh applies!   
(4)   west window . . .  Lewis’ description of a west window makes me wonder.  The front of the church (entrance end) is facing W or slightly S.W. There is no window at this end.  The largest window is that over the altar area, but that faces approximately E. It’s quite possible substantial changes were made after the publication of this book in 1837.
(5)  The Earl of Besborough (usually Bessborough) refers to John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough, residing at Piltown.  He lived from 1781 to 1847, and for some of that period also bore the title Viscount Duncannon. For a very short period he served as Lord Lieutenant in Ireland.
(6)  PARISH: A Parish is either  an administrative division  or  an ecclesiastical division.  Roman Catholic parishes go back to early Christian times, but their boundaries changed down the years, or small parishes were amalgamated into one larger one. Church of Ireland parishes, set up after the Reformation, are more-or-less similar to Civil parishes which also have a long history.  Here in this publication, it appears Lewis is referring to Church of Ireland parishes. The boundaries of Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes are frequently different.  

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Townlands in the Civil Parish of Clonagam were:-

Clashganny, Clashroe, Clonagam, Coolroe, Curraghmore, Killowen, Knockane, Lissasmuttaun, Mayfield or Rocketscastle, Mountbolton, Portlaw Town,

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Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary, as it is usually known, a large two-volume, 800-page approx. publication, was financed by subscriptions paid in advance. All the subscribers, for the entire country are listed and this runs to many pages. There are local subscribers, and many from the county i.e. Waterford. I may list them later, as their names alone make interesting reading.
Preceding the alphabetical listing are the following subscribers’ names:
*Her Most Gracious Majesty The Queen, *His Late Most Gracious Majesty William The Fourth, *Her Majesty Dowager Queen Adelaide, *His Majesty The King of Hanover, *Her Majesty The Queen of Hanover, *His Majesty The Emperor of Austria, *His Majesty The Emperor of All the Russias, *His Majesty The King of Belgium,*His Majesty The King of Sweden and Norway, *His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, *His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, *Her Royal Highness The Princess Augusta, *Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent.
A note says:  Those marked with an Asterisk (*) are Subscribers for large paper copies. I do wonder what the others, about 10% of the subscribers, received . . . . hardly photocopies in those days!  On the other hand, maybe my own copy is one of the others – a small paper copy!
However, apart from the work entailed in compiling and distributing such a  publication, to collect subscriptions in advance from such a huge number of people, in a time when even the postage stamp hadn’t been invented, must surely be classed as an incredible achievement.

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Seeing that Guilcagh Parish is also listed in this great publication, I may as well include it here:-
GUILCAGH, or GILCO, a parish, in the Barony of UPPERTHIRD, county of Waterford,, and province of MUNSTER ;  containing, with the post-town of Portlaw, 921 inhabitants.  It comprises 2059 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, forming part of the union of Dunhill  ;  the rectory is impropriate in the corporation of Waterford and the Duke of Devonshire.  The tithes amount to £148. 7. 1. of which £88 is payable to the corporation, £16. 7. 1. to the Duke of Devonshire, and £44 to the vicar.  The church is used as a chapel of ease to Dunhill.  There are two private schools, in which about 150 children are educated.  Near Coolfin are the ruins of Kilbunny church.
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Townlands in Guilcagh Civil Parish were:

Ballycahane, Ballyvallikin, Beallough, Currataggart, Guilcagh, Kilmovee, Knocknacrohy.

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E & OE