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Monday, December 17, 2012


The Nativity, from a stained glass window at Cloneen church, County Tipperary,
by the Watson Studio, Youghal, County Cork.

 The remarkable headstone above, depicting the Nativity of Christ,
was photographed in the cemetery at Dromin, Co. Louth, last year (2011). It is believed that here, in 561 A.D., Colmcille copied the psalter belonging to Finian of Clonard, kept it for himself,thereby creating the first recorded instance of plagiarism in this country, which led to the Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (aka Battle of the Books)! After the battle, where hundreds were slain, Colmcille (aka Columba) then took it upon himself to go on a missionary journey to Scotland as penance. He settled in Iona (Oileán Í) in the Hebrides, now more famous than ever it was, and attracting pilgrims of many faiths from the four corners of the world annually. I had the pleasure of visiting Iona in 2010. Quite a long drive to the Isle of Mull, but well worth it, where one can get a small ferry to Iona to see the places associated with this saintly man.

The headstone, with what must be unique iconography, was erected by Anthony Hand of Laulefftown (sic) in memory of his 17 year old daughter, Anne, who died April 2nd 1805.

 One left click on any image will enlarge it!


The area was covered some mornings recently in dense fog. This shows the riverside walk and bridge area on Tuesday Dec. 18th about 9.30 am. A rather tranquil scene.

Twenty-seven hours later the mood had changed and the Clódagh was overflowing it's banks, after a night's heavy rain, and flooding adjoining fields. Combined with a high tide about two hours before this, the water level had been much higher. Observing the scene here were local personalities- Paddy (Doc) Morrissey and Richie Roche.

Up close to the bridge was none other than local shop-keeper, Tommy Fogarty, eager to show how agile he was, as I stood precariously on my step-ladder which Doc Morrissey steadfastly held on to! Here can be seen the Clódagh overflowing into the former cotton-mill canal.
Luckily the bridge has more than two arches!
On the extreme right can be seen the now-defunct Presbyterian church, built in 1845.

                                                                                                                                                               The Dr. Martin Day Care Centre in Queen Street, which opened less than three months ago
was the place to be on Tuesday last, 18th December, when a superb Christmas Dinner and Party was held to entertain seniors in the locality.
Congratulations to Alice - the Manager, Alice (yes, another Alice!) - the Cook, and quite a number of volunteer helpers, who made it the great success it was, lasting from about 12.30 until 4.30.
Music and song was supplied by local musicians and singers, some of whom perform every Wednesday at the Centre. In addition, a number of the others present sang, danced, or done some other party piece. 
Mass was celebrated earlier in the morning at the centre by Fr. Ned Hassett, local curate. 

In this image, left to right:  Kevin Nolan, Accordian, Songs and Electronic Drummer; your's truly on the Harmonica; Gerry Walsh - songs; Tom Comerford Guitarist and Singer (at back), and on extreme right - popular local balladeer - Margaret Dooley - a frequent singer with Cois tSiúire, a group of about 25 musicians and singers from south Kilkenny, south Tipperary, and east Waterford, who play at various venues every two or three weeks, usually to raise funds for national and local charitable organisations.

Maura Corcoran, church organist for well over fifty consecutive years, brought along her own keyboard and provided great music . . .

. . . .  especially for her grand-daughter, Dervla, who stole the show with her solo singing                   of well- known Christmas carols, Danny Boy, etc.

Some further images and text to follow

Friday, November 16, 2012


Now that we are in mid-November, the countryside in the vicinity of Portlaw has been changing colours dramatically during recent days.  Trees in Curraghmore estate, especially the Beeches, are changing on a daily basis, but if a windy day comes soon, not a leaf will be left on them. The Ash trees have shed their leaves some weeks ago and the Chestnuts have almost finished. The rare Spanish Chestnuts still have a few leaves left of a most delicate shade of yellow, while that highly-invasive Japanese Knotweed has also changed to delicate shades of yellow and palest green. Some plants seem to be quite confused as to what time of year it is and are starting to bloom once again, notably Cowslips, Primroses, Woodbine and even Rhododendron in places.

With literally hundreds of Pheasants, including many white ones, strutting around all over the place,and the countryside looking at it's best colour-wise, it's time to be out and about enjoying it all before the cold of winter sets in!

Always looking beautiful is the Beech-wood apast Tower Hill cottages.

Here can be seen that fine Beech inside Curraghmore main entrance,
looking quite majestic at any time of the year, but especially right now that it's foliage is changing colours;
the sound-effects from the nearby Clódagh river and Salmon Leap adding to it all.  

An extremely colourful drain in the Beech-wood mentioned at # 435.

Regrettably, since yesterday (November 15th 2012), November fogs have arrived and much of the area in the vicinity of Portlaw has been covered in fog, with visibility down to a dangerous level in many places, like here at Salaheen cottages.                                

-    oooOooo    -

Thanks to John O'Shea of Waterford Local Radio who kindly came to the Dr. Martin Day Centre two days ago and entertained the many clients with popular music for over two-and-a-half hours. All because of an invitation from popular local lady, Peggy Brophy.  Accommodating the many new faces was almost a problem, and may well be a bigger problem in time to come, the Wednesday afternoon entertainment now becoming something to look forward to by our seniors. 
Thanks also to all those volunteers who made it all so enjoyable with Tea, Coffee, Cakes and Apple-Tarts galore!

-    oooOooo    -

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Animals at Darrigle, Portlaw, this morning, surrounded by water when the tidal Suir burst  it’s banks.  A flock of starlings overhead was  enjoying it all. The extent of the flooding is not obvious from ground level.  
Next time, I'll hire a helicopter! 

More bewildered animals at Darrigle, Portlaw following last night’s and  yesterday’s  heavy rain, in addition to high tide, etc.  

A new landscape near Pouldrew,  where much land reclamation work has been taking place in recent weeks.  When the river Suir burst it’s banks nearby following heavy rain and high tides, large areas of countryside around Portlaw were badly flooded and traffic detours were in force.  Some drivers had to be rescued. One lady found her car afloat near Carney’s/Kearney's  Bridge and had a miraculous escape!

The Walsh Mountains in the background here.

A further picture from the recent floods series.

Portlaw appears to have disappeared beneath the recent floods, with only St. Patrick's Church surviving, because of it's elevated position above the town.
Maybe the church will be our last refuge when a tsunami comes up the tidal rivers Suir and Clódagh!
Yes, a huge tsunami is forecast for many places, including south-east ireland when a certain volcano eventually erupts in the Canary Islands!
Read all about it by typing into Google:  canaries volcano tsunami

One left click on most images will enlarge them.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Numerous interior images from a four-day photo-shoot in 2010, also work in 2009 and 2011,
will be included in this new section. 
I am most grateful to Very Rev.Canon George Cliffe of the Fiddown Union of Churches
for permission to do this work.
I have used the spelling 'Clonagam' for the above graphic, as this is nearest to the original Gaelic spelling for the townland name, all part of the Curraghmore estate.

The opening exterior images have been taken at various times.

This post-Reformation church is located in a commanding position on the side of  Tower Hill,
with beautiful forest and parkland trees all around. 

Built in 1741, about twenty-four years after the first Beresford married into the ancient Norman de la Poer family, it is assumed that an R.C. church stood on the site prior to that.
No ruins of such an earlier church, however, can be seen,
but both Catholics and Protestants have been, and still are, buried in the cemetery.  

The Very Rev. Canon Patrick Power (1862-1952), noted Waterford author and historian,
suggested that the original pre-Reformation church was taken down to facilitate the building of the present church in 1741. He also suggested that the present building was built at right angles to it's predecessor.  

The church is comparatively small, but the many memorials within are surely amazing.
Note the chimney mid-way along the roof here.
It is obvious from looking at the window surrounds that they once had great strong shutters for protection. 

Some sheep are allowed into the cemetery occasionally in order to keep the grass low!
This semi-circular area directly in front of the church contains Beresford family only memorials,
and is considerably higher than the surrounding ground outside the boundary wall because of the steepness of the hill on which the church and cemetery are located.  

Magnificent views of the Comeragh mountains from the vicinity of the church delight the eye!

The church interior, photographed from inside door on left.
The fireplace can be seen on the south wall directly under a window, the chimney flue's location being obvious from the stains to the left over that window.
One left-click will enlarge the image for a better view.

View from right inside door. Note the two memorials covered with sheets;
this to protect them from the droppings of bats which inhabit the building.
There is a strict preservation order on bats in this country. 

The church fireplace. It appears it's use as a fireplaced ceased at some stage
and this fine marble effigy of a reclining young man was fill the gap.
Talk of Hot Seats . . . ! 

Fireplace detail. 

The face of the young man, who obviously represents some classical figure? 

Memorial to Florence Grosvenor Rowley, wife of  the 5th Marquis of Waterford (1844-1895), who died in childbirth. 
This remarkable memorial, in a niche on the south wall of the church, is cleverly lit by a concealed high overhead window.

Florence Grosvenor Rowley was born in 1837, the daughter of Major George Rowley of the Bombay Cavalry and Emily Isabella Honner (a Cork lady), and first married widower, Captain Hon. John Cranch Walker Vivian on June 18th, 1861 – an English Liberal politician, who was elected to the House of Commons  a few times between 1841 and 1871. In 1868 he had moved to Lord of the Treasury, They were divorced in August 1869.

In August 1872, she married the 5th Marquis of Waterford. Bearing the title, Earl of Tyrone, from 1859 to 1866, he was an Irish peer and a Conservative politician

Lady Florence died in childbirth in London on April 4th, 1873. Her remains and that of her still-born child are buried directly outside the front of Clonagam church, under a simple headstone, in that area reserved for the Curraghmore family.

The detail in the marble memorial, showing texture, stitchcraft and the human form, is quite amazing.

                                                                                                                                                              The sculptor's name is inscribed on the front edge thus:  Boehm fecit 1873.

The eminent Vienna-born sculptor, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, who had studied in Italy and Paris, came to prominence in 1856 when he was awarded the Austrian Imperial Prize for Sculpture.  He then studied further in England, and following success at an important London exhibition in 1862, decided to live there permanently.
There he rose in popularity following some important commissions, which included a statue of Queen Victoria for Windsor Castle in 1869.  Elected to the Royal Academy in 1878, his output increased dramatically due to numerous commissions he received from royalty (over forty alone) and the aristocracy.        
  Thus he came in contact with the then 5th Marquis of Waterford, John Henry de la Poer Beresford, a Conservative politician, husband of the late Frances Grosvenor Rowley, who engaged him to sculpt the memorial depicting his deceased wife and child, who had died in London in 1873, which he, Boehm,  completed the same year.  He is believed to have executed other work for the Marquis at that time.
Boehm’s illustrious career ended with his sudden death in London in 1890.

 Immediately over Lady Florence's memorial, can be seen the fine marble (?) plaque shown above.
No sculptor's name was visible. 

 A close-up shows two coats-of-arms and the motto 'Nihil Nisi Cruce', meaning - 'Nothing unless the Cross' - motto of the Curraghmore Beresfords.
I have searched through Rowley, de la Poer and Beresford coats-of-arms.
The shield on the left more-or-less matches the Beresford one/s.
Suggestions re the right-hand shield would be most welcome!

I am indebted to my friend, Jack Kelly, for helping to light up the above two scenes with a torch, as their location is permanently very much in the shade.

The above memorial (a two-piece panel) to James Power of Curraghmore who died in 1704, is located on the right side of the main window.
This panel is self-explanatory and mentions it's origins.
Top Panel:
Here lies the Body of JAMES POWER Earl of
Tyrone who died the 19th of Auguft 1704 in the 38 year
Of His Age.
Underneath panel:
And Also the Body of Ann his wife
Who Departed this life the 26th day
Of September 1729.


Spelling and capitalization as on the memorial.
 The church mentioned is obviously the Church of Ireland which had been closed for some years, and is now a Heritage Centre. 

High up, on the left side of the main window, is a dark limestone  slab which bears the following inscription:

Here lyeth the body of the

Right Hon. John Power

Earl of Tyrone

Who died 14th October 1693

In the 29th year of his age.

This memorial MAY also have come from the Church of Ireland, Carrick-on-Suir, and must be the oldest extant memorial to the Curraghmore de la Poers.If not originally located at Carrick-on-Suir, then it must have surely have come from Clonagam cemetery itself?

On my first visit, it was impossible to read or photograph that memorial, due to the poor light.
On a second visit, in the company of Mitchelstown historian, Bill Power, it was possible to read, but not photograph  it by shining a torch at an oblique angle across the lettering!

On a recent (March 2013) visit to Clonagam I have  been able to get a not-so-good copy of this 320-year-old memorial, in what is a very dark location.

Thanks to my friend, Jack Kelly, for shining a more powerful torch on the stone, while I worked from top of a ladder.  Remember, there is no electric light in the building!    

The exquisite memorial to Marcus Beresford and his wife, Catherine de la Poer,
who died in 1763 and 1769 respectively.
This Marcus was the first Beresford to settle in Portlaw. 
It is believed Catherine de la Poer was also known as Caitlín de Paor.

The inscription on the memorial reads as follows:

 To the Memory of Marcus Beresford, Earl, and Viscount of Tyrone, Baron Beresford, and Baronet

who departed this life on the 4th of April 1763 in the 69th year of his Age, and of Catherine,

Baronefs Le Poer in Fee, his Countess, Daughter and Heirefs to James Power, Earl of Tyrone,
Viscount Decies, and Baron Le Poer, who dyed in the 68th year of her Age on the 16th of July 1769.
this Monument is Erected by their Son, George dela Poer Beresford, Marquis of Waterford,

in Testimony of his Duty, Gratitude and Affection.

(Spelling as on memorial. No sculptor’s name visible)

Coat of arms under the inscription shown in the previous picture.  

The memorial centre-piece, Marcus & Catherine Beresford.

The portrait busts surrounded by two disconsolate Cherubs.

The left cherub - side view.  

The left cherub - front view.

The right cherub. 

Memorial to a Bishop Beresford on the south wall.
The difficult-to-read inscription is as follows:

The Most Reverend Lord John George Beresford, D.D.,
Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland.
Prelate of the order of St. Patrick, Lord Almoner to the Queen,
Chancellor of the University of Dublin, a Privy Councillor.
Second son of the most Honble. George De La Poer Beresford, First Marquis of Waterford.
Born Novr. 22nd 1773. Died July 19th 1862.
Buried in the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Armagh.

This bust is dedicated in affectionate remembrance . . .
Regrettably, the last line was not recorded.  

Lord John George was actually born at Tyrone House, Dublin (the town house of his father - Marcus Beresford, Earl of Tyrone - designed by Richard Cassells)). He was a son of George de la Poer Beresford, 1st Marquess of Waterford, and Elizabeth Monck, his wife. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford.  He was ordained a priest in 1797 and in 1799 rose to the position of Dean of Clogher. Further appointments included, Bishop of Cork & Ross in 1805, Bishop of Raphoe in 1807, Bishop of Clogher twelve years after that.

By the end of 1820 he had become Archbishop of Dublin, and two years later Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, which position he held until his death in  1862. He is buried in the crypt of Armagh Church of Ireland Cathedral, which I had the pleasure of visiting in July 2012 and being allowed down to see where he was laid to rest.  

Lord John George carried out major restoration work on Armagh cathedral, and was succeeded as Primate by his cousin Marcus Gervais Beresford, then Bishop of Kilmore.  


No further images will be added, as a page entitled - 'Clonagam Church Interior part 2' has been added on  March 28th, 2013.                   

Further history notes re the above memorials will, however, be added, if any come to light.
N.B. Both forms of the name (Clonagam/Clonegam) should be used if doing any research,
as I've seen both version used in old documents and books.

Each image will enlarge on a black background with a single left click!