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Cappoquin Regeneration Public Meeting

Some two years back, Waterford City and County Council, working in collaboration with Waterford Leader Partnership, Cappoquin Regeneration Company, Tomar Trust and the local community, was successful in being allocated some €1.2 million under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

This funding was further bolstered by match funding provided by the Council and by Tomar Trust. This was designated as Category 2 funding i.e. funding to facilitate the design, planning and preparation of regeneration projects.

The emphasis on this phase of development was very much to identify and prepare projects which would address five main issues:

·         Vacancy and dereliction in the town centre

·         Lack of recent investment in the town centre’s public domain

·         Lack of appropriate enterprise and housing opportunities

·         The potential in improving access to the River Blackwater

·         The lack of community and tourist-oriented recreational infrastructure

In the meantime, Waterford City and County Council, working closely with Cappoquin Regeneration Company has acquired a number of derelict and vacant properties, has procured architectural designs for same and has advanced them to a point of planning permission.

Likewise, there is design work on-going, again much with appropriate planning in place, to improve the physical appearance and attractiveness of the town centre, access to the river, the creation of a number of new recreational trails as well as the development of an innovative town centre housing pilot. The collaborative approach currently being taken in Cappoquin is cited in the government’s new “Town Centre First” policy which was unveiled last week.

Side by side with this are other ongoing initiatives in the town e.g. the development of Blackwater House as a new enterprise centre, a Town and Village Renewal Scheme which provided €120,000 for improvements to some 45 properties on Main Street and the work of Waterford Sports Partnership in the onward development of the West Waterford rural Sports Hub centred around Cappoquin.

Waterford City and County Council is now in a position to advance an application for the next round of RRDF funding which will take a number of projects from design through to construction and delivery.

To this effect, the Council is hosting a Public Consultation in Cappoquin Community Centre on the evening of Tuesday, 22nd February from 7.00 – 9.00 p.m. to which all the community and any interested parties are invited.

The purpose of the meeting will be to inform the attendees of progress to date, to outline the plans for further development and to get the community’s view as to the proposed projects and to discuss other potential developments which can aid in Cappoquin’s regeneration drive.

Cappoquin is a town with a great sense of heritage and past endeavour but is now time to also look forward and to ensure future vibrancy, sustainability and growth for this gorgeous town. It behoves everybody in the community to contribute to that future, to have their voices heard and to work together for the greater common good of Cappoquin and surrounding areas. 


Community Monuments Fund open for Application

Waterford City and  County Council in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage are inviting applications for the Community Monuments Fund 2022.

The grant scheme offers funding for the conservation, maintenance, protection and presentation of archaeological monuments.

The Community Monuments Fund has 3 streams:

  • Stream1 for essential repairs and capital works for the conservation and repair of archaeological monuments.
  • Stream 2 for the development of Conservation Management Plans/Reports aimed at identifying measures for the conservation of archaeological monuments and improving public access
  • Stream 3 for enhancement of access infrastructure and interpretation (including virtual/online) at archaeological monuments

Closing date for receipt of applications from private applicants is the 15th February 2022 to

Full details of  the grant scheme are outlined in—  Community Monuments Fund 2022 – Explanatory Memorandum CMF2022 available to download at;

Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2022

The Heritage Council’s Community Heritage Grant Scheme is now open for applications until February 16th. A fund of €1.5 million is available under the scheme to support;

  • Capital projects that apply good heritage practice to the management of places, collections or objects (including buildings)
  • Capital projects that improve access and inclusion to heritage sites
  • The purchase of essential equipment.

Further details on what is eligible under the scheme and how to apply on-line can be found at;

Funding Approval for Repair and Lease Scheme at St. Joseph’s House, Manor Hill, Waterford

Waterford City & County Council is delighted to announce funding approval by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for the proposed Repair and Lease Scheme at St Joseph’s House, Manor Hill, Waterford City.

Walsh and Sheehan Manor Hill Investments Ltd and Waterford City & County Council have entered into an agreement to deliver 71 residential dwelling units within the existing vacant buildings on this iconic city centre site in Waterford City.

Over €4.2 Million has been approved to re-purpose the existing buildings (which are protected structures) to provide 50 apartment dwellings within the former convent building and 21 dwellings within the outbuilding clusters on the site.  It is proposed to provide the accommodation for elderly residents.

The funding is being provided under Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland.  It is an objective of Housing for All to address vacancy and provide for efficient use of existing stock.  Housing for All identifies the opportunity to re-imagine and transform our cities and towns, and to increase residential development in cities and town centres, with a consequent emphasis on amenities and quality of life.  The Plan acknowledges that addressing vacancy and dereliction has to form a key part of this response.

The Repair and Lease Scheme has been pioneered in Waterford and is a significant driver in providing high quality affordable housing solutions and at the same time has significantly addressed and delivered the return to use of vacant buildings in Waterford.

For further information on the Repair and Lease Scheme and help in returning properties to use, please contact or or Waterford’s Vacant Homes Office on 0818 10 2348.

Tramore Railway Station windows update

Under the Historic Towns Initiative 2021, the  Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and the Heritage Council  awarded   Waterford City and County Council an allocation of €77,500 for conservation works at The Railway Station in Tramore.

As part of the works the historic sliding sash windows and frames have been removed and taken to  the workshop at National Joinery in Wexford. There the paint was stripped back and  repairs were carried out . With the stripping back some on the numerals used  when assembling the windows  such as” VIII”  was revealed. The  very fine joinery work is evident  such as the mortice and tenon joints , which is where 2 pieces of wood meet , mainly at right angles such simple and strong detailing has contributed to the longevity of the  original windows.

Where wood is damaged, it is removed and replaced (spliced) with a new piece of wood. Works such as these   ensure   the embodied energy retention  by reuse of our historic stock. At present the windows are being painted and glazed.

We will keep you updated with their progress and their journey back to Tramore !

Interpretation Plan for Waterford Medieval City Walls commissioned

Waterford City and County Council has commissioned an Interpretation Plan for the Waterford Medieval City Walls and is inviting input from members of the public.

Pictured are Cllr. Seanie Power Deputy Mayor, James Hennessey of Paul Hogart & Co, Rose Ryall Conservation officer and Eamonn McEneany is Waterford’s city historian and the Director of the Waterford Treasures Museum. Pictures: Patrick Browne

The Medieval City Walls and Towers form a prominent landmark that influence the character of Waterford, while also providing a tangible link to the story of Ireland’s first city. However, at present there is very little interpretation of the Walls and Towers, their significance and the stories associated with them.

The Interpretation Plan has been made possible with funding from The Heritage Council and its preparation will take place over the months of September and October.  It will involve a review of existing interpretation followed by the development of strategies and themes to imaginatively communicate the importance of the medieval walls with the public, both locals and visitors alike.

Welcoming the plan, Deputy Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Seanie Power said, “The medieval walls are such an integral part of our city and this important initiative will play a key role in elevating their status as part of the visitor offer. This project complements the continued programme of investment in Waterford City Centre and we look forward to seeing its recommendations later in the year.”

The plan is being prepared by a consultancy team led The Paul Hogarth Company, bringing with them extensive experience of innovative interpretation and public realm projects across Ireland.

The team would like to hear from members of the public about the relationship they have with Waterford City’s medieval walls.   An online public survey has been published and can be completed by Monday, September 27th.

Director James Hennessey said, “We are delighted to be working in Waterford City on this project to help bring the wonderful medieval walls to life.  We very much hope that the people of the city and beyond will join us in this process, sharing what the walls mean to them and the many stories that they hold”.

The online survey can be found on the website and social media accounts of Waterford City and County Council, or by following this link

Online resource launched for owners of Historic and Protected Structures

Old House New Home is an important new online resource for the owners of existing properties, including protected structures.

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD, has welcomed the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) publication of Old House New Home, which was supported by the  Department and the Creative Ireland Programme. This is an innovative e-publication, offering free guidance and advice on repairing and reusing historic buildings. It explains how to understand your home, conserve period features and reimagine it for contemporary living, while maintaining the character and craftsmanship that come with historic properties. The guide includes a wealth of case study projects representing different sizes, conditions, characteristics and locations – from homes in urban and suburban settings to the adaptation of farmhouse complex, their yards and outbuildings.

It also includes video footage telling the remarkable stories of five different built heritage scenarios – two urban residences above shops, a Cow House within a farmyard, a subdivided Georgian Town House and an Officers’ Mess that was the focus of a former military complex. These projects are of different scales, settings and complexities, but all have been reimagined for 21st century living, whilst retaining their unique architectural character. The success of many of these case studies is not just in the design of new works but also in the repair and conservation of historic fabric and retention of character.

‘These concepts,’ the Minister said, ‘of high quality design, reuse and good repair are of paramount importance to urban and rural regeneration alike, but of particular relevance to informing how to re-imagine the historic building stock that lies vacant at the heart of our towns and villages’.

‘As well as making distinctive homes’, the Minister continued, ‘the reuse and repair of existing buildings is an important response to climate change and urban revitalisation. Consideration of reuse and re-imagining of existing building stock, their embodied energy and craftsmanship is a carbon neutral option, which is part of sustainable development’.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through various polices and strategies on architecture and the historic built environment seeks to promote awareness and understanding of heritage-led regeneration with well-considered design as a benefit to the environment and to society as a whole.

If you have any quires with regard to your historic property and conservation  in Waterford , please feel free to contact our Conservation Officer at

May Day in Ireland

‘folk beliefs…spring from our common heritage of human fears and human hopes…the fate of the house and of those who dwelt in it was affected, if not determined, by the good or bad luck which followed on casual actions or chance events.’

So wrote the Irish folklorist Kevin Danaher (Caoimhín Ó Danachair) about what might be loosely termed ‘superstition’. Such tradition has had a strong role in helping people make sense of what might otherwise be beyond their understanding and helped them deal with the challenges of everyday life. This lies behind the old festival of May Day, Bealtaine in Irish, the meaning of which appears to be ‘bright fire’, recalling the bonfires that were formerly part of this festival. In many places, such as Limerick City, May Eve, rather than Midsummer, was Bonfire Night.

May Day marked the start of the summer half of the year and Samhain (Hallowe’en) began the winter half, both days being occasions when the supernatural and human worlds coincided. The body of tradition relating to May Day is vast, although few of the customs and practices are carried out today.

Protection of the churn, the milk, butter and the farm animals, was of paramount importance at a time of great supernatural activity. On May Eve supernatural beings were supposed to be out and about and people generally stayed at home. On May Day it was widely considered to be very unlucky to let salt, water or especially fire, or even the dirt and dust from the floor, out of the house. There were individuals, most particularly the ‘milk-stealing hag’ who might be tempted to steal the ‘profit’ of the butter and thus the household’s nutrition and luck for the year ahead.

The words ‘Come all to me and none to thee!’ or ‘Come, butter, come, each lump as big as my bum!’ or ‘Come, butter, come! St Peter stands at the gate, waiting for a buttered cake, so come, butter, come!’ would be uttered by the miscreant, who used various methods to try to coax away the butter profit. Counteractions included pouring milk on the threshold or at the roots of a fairy thorn bush. In parts of Ulster, cattle were driven into ring-forts, bled, their blood tasted and some poured onto the earth.

Fire taboos were especially critical. The hearth fire was extinguished on May Eve and only re-lit the next day from a communal bonfire. A visitor looking for a coal from the fire for his own hearth was politely turned down: it was crucial that fire not leave the house, although fire could be got from the priest’s house. A person looking for a light for his pipe would have to finish his pipe in the house he visited. In fact, nobody liked to give away anything on May Day. Likewise, nobody wanted to be the first to light their fire, but smoke from the priest’s house gave the go-ahead. In some places there were taboos about digging, whitewashing, bathing or sailing on May Day.

“The May Bush is most common in Leinster, although it is also known in other parts of the country. It is set up outside the house on May Eve and is decorated with flowers, ribbons, pieces of paper etc. Whitethorn is the most popular type of bush.” It was taken in County Westmeath on May Day 1964 by James Delaney, folklore collector, Irish Folklore Commission.

May flowers – primroses, cowslips, buttercups, marigolds and furze (gorse) – were gathered before dusk on May Eve or before sunrise on May Day and were scattered on the threshold or floor of houses and outbuildings, and garlands of these hung on or over doors and windows. Flowers were also picked to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, by decorating her statue or the household altar. In parts of Munster May boughs of holly, hazel, elder or rowan were laid on thresholds, sills or roofs and rowan was placed vertically in farmyards and fields. In Leinster, whitethorn was most common and was decorated with ribbons and garlands.

Holy water was sprinkled in the byre, sprigs of rowan were placed over the door of the byre, tied to the tails of the cattle or hung or their horns. In the Glens of Antrim, for example, a rowan twig was placed upright in the dunghill or midden. Cattle were driven between two bonfires in a rite of purification. Red ribbons were tied to the manes and harness of horses. Charms were recited to accompany various of these practices. In Donegal, the milk churn was washed with the water of three landlords, perhaps water from the meeting place of three townlands. Wells were guarded and protected by sprinkling salt and holy water into them and placing flowers around them. It was thought that milk-stealers could achieve their aim by dragging a rope across a field to gather the dew. Ashes from May bonfires were scattered in the fields, as they were on St John’s Eve (Midsummer). In some places, the pig, a key contributor to the Irish diet, was driven into the house on May morning for luck.

At home, there were divination practices, as there were at Hallowe’en. One involved bringing a snail to the hearth, the creature tracing the initials of one’s true love as it moved through the ashes. A girl wishing to retain her fair complexion would wash her face in dew before sunrise on May Morning.

May Day was traditionally the day that the letting of grazing and meadow and the hiring of farm servants and workmen took place. It was start of the fresh grass season, when cattle were put into pasture fields and started to be milked twice a day; cattle were brought to the higher ‘booley’ grounds where they would stay until autumn; and turf cutting season also began.

In the nineteenth century there were parades of ‘May Babies’ and the May Queen. In Louth, a female figure was set on a pole and elaborately dressed with flowers and ribbons and a married couple, perhaps childless, would dance around it. Dancing also took place at the communal bonfire. In some villages, pairs of athletic youths, dressed in white or multicoloured clothes decorated with ribbons accompanied, fore and aft, two beautiful girls in lightly coloured clothes who held aloft May bushes, decorated with long coloured ribbons, all accompanied by music. Traditions and ceremonies once associated with the May Bush, especially in urban areas, such as Smithfield in Dublin, were widespread. Today, a May bush can occasionally be seen, set up outside the front door of a rural house.

Maypoles are known from a few places in Ireland, including Finglas (until 1847) and Harold’s Cross in Dublin, Kilkenny, Mountmellick, Portarlington, Port Laoise, Holywood (Co. Down), Downpatrick, Carrickfergus and Maghera (Co. Derry, until 1798). In this last place there was a procession of May Boys, led by a king and queen ornamented with coloured ribbons.

May Day also saw girls in southern and south-eastern counties gifting decorated balls to the youths. These were often hurling balls decorated with coloured ribbons and hung under a hoop of greenery; the whole assembly was laid out on the village green and the young people of the district danced and sang around it. These activities often became very raucous occasions, sometimes leading to serious injury, as noted in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and eventually died out, along with most other May traditions.

Article by Barry O’Reilly
National Inventory of Architectural Heritage


  • Danaher, Kevin (1972), The Year in Ireland (Mercier Press)
  • Evans, E. Estyn (1957), Irish Folk Ways (Routledge)
  • Ó Súilleabháin, Seán (1967), Irish Folk Custom and Belief (Cultural Relations Committee)
  • Wood-Martin, W.G. (1902), Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland (Longman, Gren & Co.)

Ogham Stones in Ardmore

There are roughly 400 surviving Ogham inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and western Britain, the bulk of them are in the south of Ireland, in Counties Kerry, Cork and Waterford. The vast majority of the inscriptions consist of personal names and were used as either grave markers or territorial markers.  Ogham takes the form of lines and notches at the angle of a stone to denote letters. It is based on the Latin alphabet and is read from the base of the stone upwards to the top. The date of the inscriptions spans from the 4th century to the late 7th century.

Two of the 3 Ogham stones found in Ardmore   have been relocated  within  the Cathedral

The first Ogham stone is 1.27m high and has the following inscription

LUGUDECCAS MAQI[  ̣  ̣ ?   ̣  ̣MU]/COI NETA SEGAMONAS/ DOLATI BIGAISGOB… which translates as ‘of Luguid son of …? descendant of Nad-Segamon’. McManus (1991, 65)

The second Ogham stone is 1.3m high and has a small incised cross upon the sloping top of the stone, on the side opposite to the inscription which reads AMADU  which can be translated  as  “beloved”. McManus (1991, 117).The third stone, which is kept in the National Museum of Ireland has the inscription …]NACI MAQI [… “of Anac, son of “

If you like to know more about Ogham stones an interesting link is ogham in 3D project

Ardmore Cathedral

On the exterior of the west gable of Ardmore Cathedral, there are a number of carved tone panels, which according to  historians, depict events from the psalms. In the past one of functions of these carvings was  to illustrate stories from the Bible for the faithful. The panels comprise of two large semicircular lunettes and above them a range of thirteen round headed  panels. The iconography of some of these panels has been interpreted, where it is possible as the enthroned Madonna with the child Jesus, The Last Judgment or Archangel Michael weighing the souls , whilst there is  uncertainty about some of the other figures depicted. Underneath these panels are  the two (possibly originally three) larger lunettes which  depict Adam and Eve and  the Judgment of Solomon over the Adoration of Magi.

The right-hand lunette combines both the scene of David playing his harp and the Judgment of Solomon. David’s battle with Goliath is the scene on the extreme right of the left-hand lunette, where a figure kneeling with bowed head is shown with a spear, which  was one of the weapons borne by Goliath into battle. Respectively, the fourth arch from the left of the upper arcade is identified as David’s charge to Solomon and  panels such as the third arch from the left of the upper arcade are  identified as The building of Solomon’s Temple (Harbison, 1995).

It is probable that a number of smaller panels may have been eroded by time and weather, as a few are now blank. The off centre placement of the lunettes may indicate that further panels were intended or that the panels were reset with later modifications to the building. It might also be possible that these panels were  relocated from another church. Usually twelfth century Irish churches were decorated with non figurative ornament based on geometric and foliage patterns. Figurative works such as these, which consist of many panels, are extremely rare in Ireland.

The most probable sources of inspiration for this type of decoration are found in the Poitous-Angoumois region in France, where there is similar arcading with figures on the exterior of the western elevations of the Cathedrals of Angouleme, Civay and Poitiers. Those also date from 12th century, while elements of the iconography are also similar to depictions on Norman manuscripts.

The Beauty of Maps … Archaeology

Ardmore, Co. Waterford

Continuing with how we can view our archaeology and built heritage through the maps using the  Historic Environment Viewer link on The National Monuments website, it is possible to find archaeological features via town-land or by feature.

For instance, a search for ecclesiastical enclosures in County Waterford returns 27 results.  Ecclesiastical enclosures are oval / roughly circular or “D” shaped areas, defined by banks and external  ditches or dry stone walls. These sites are quite large, usually over 50m in diameter and enclose early medieval churches or  monasteries . The enclosures  date from  the 5th-to the 12th centuries AD.

Ardmore Cathedral is considered one of the oldest Christian settlements in Ireland, having been founded by St. Declan in 416 AD, prior to St. Patrick’s arrival in 432 AD . The archaeological remains at the site range in date from the Early Medieval period. The large monastic enclosure encompasses St. Declan’s oratory, the graveyard, the Cathedral and iconic round tower.

Very little is known of the later history of the ecclesiastical centre. The only date recorded in connection with the cathedral is 1203 AD, when historic texts note that the building of the church in Ardmore was finished. Ardmore was recognised as a diocesan centre between 1170 and 1210, after which time the diocese was united with Lismore and the church became parochial.

In 1642, the Cathedral and round tower were besieged but the chancel of the cathedral continued in use as a  church until 1838, when the present Church of Ireland church was built and the font from the Cathedral was transferred to its present location.

Remember to tag your Waterford photos with #MyWaterford2km to feature in our new photo site or in upcoming issues of Waterford News & Star.

The Beauty of Maps … What’s in your 2km zone (Part 1)

If you are finding yourself with some spare time, and bored of cat videos, why not try some detective work about the built heritage in your own locality?

The National Monuments website has a link to a “Historic Environment Viewer” which is an online digital service provided by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

On this site you can access to the databases of the National Monuments Service Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH). Six maps on the site include :

  • The First Edition 6 inch OS maps, which were printed between 1837 and 1842 and the Historic 25 inch maps printed from 1888- 1913.
  • An additional layer has the archaeological sites indicated as red dots and structures included in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, indicated by blue dots, which link you to data about the individual structures.

It is very interesting to see the expansion of Tramore, for example, from a fishing village on the First Edition 6 Inch OS Map to the Victorian seaside resort of the Historic 25 inch Maps.

On the earlier map, the then village is located along present day Main Street, Stand Street, Patrick Street and Queen Street and is mainly surrounded by fields.   The later maps show the development of the town as it began to expand rapidly both as a seaside resort and a dormitory town for Waterford City, with opening of the Waterford and Tramore Railway Line in 1853.

Anyone building a house in the town had the building material carried at a reduced rate by the Railway Company.  As a result of this incentive, imposing terraces of houses such as Bellevue and Gurteen Terrace were constructed.  The street pattern of development was determined by the topography.  The building of Harney’s seawall in 1893 further increased the tourism potential for Tramore. To the east, the maps indicate the changes due to the reclamation works at Lisselan and the Backstrand.

Our next article will look at archaeology and maps, but in the meantime why not check out the links about and see what is within your 2km zone to explore.

Fanlights of Waterford

The history of fanlights available on the Buildings of Ireland Facebook page posted a photograph of the lovely double fanlight at 31 The Mall Waterford city recently.

Here are a few more examples from around the City and County.



Fantastic Irish Fanlights

During the Covid crisis, The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) Facebook site is highlighting some of our wonderful historic buildings and features with Built Heritage puzzles. 

This week they are starting a “Fantastic Irish Fanlights: An Armchair Tour of Ireland” by Nessa Roche, Senior Architectural Advisor, which is perfect for a little lunchtime learning or a teatime tutorial.

“Fantastic Irish Fanlights” will explain why fanlights became so popular in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings. It will also explore the wide range of buildings fanlights are found, who designed the fanlights, who made them and how they were made, the main design families – circle; cobweb; floral; Gothic; peacock; petal; spoke and hub; teardrop – and will showcase examples of the bizarre and spectacular. There will also be practical tips if you know of a fanlight in need of repair.

Go on the armchair tour of “Fantastic Irish Fanlights” – First stop will be “An Introduction to Irish Fanlights”.

The link is