Historical Biographies War of Independence

A Fearless Rebel

Bill Foley & The fight for west waterford

i. The Fight on the Western Front
It takes a rebellious heart for a mere teenager to leave the bosom of rural West Waterford and decamp to fight for the British Army in The Great War, especially considering the vast numbers of Irishmen who were falling at the ‘Front’. Nonetheless, this is what Bill Foley and his older brother Robert from Ballycurrane, Clashmore contended to do. They served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers and while in the forces they both qualified as proficient marksmen, a skill which would stand them in good stead for the challenges ahead closer to home.

Historical Biographies

Mick The Cooper

Michael Cunningham, cooper, Service No. 342684, royal navy (1875 – 1915)

Michael ‘Mick the Cooper’ Cunningham was born on February 24th 1875 to Patrick & Mary Cunningham, Ballyheeney, Clashmore. His father came from a long line of Coopers and Michael, the second son, followed him into the trade, a craft which would later bring him half way around the world with the Royal Navy, as far East as the Persian Gulf to as far south as Simonstown in the Western Cape of South Africa. At that time cooperage was one of the most important positions to hold on a ship due to the necessity for casks for water and provisions and men generally reported directly to the Purser i.e. the ship’s accountant or “the one who held the purse strings”. Contrary to popular belief, coopering was not all about making barrels or casks for stowage and much of their time onboard would also be given over to the repair of leaking or damaged vessels. These skilled craftsmen would also make various other everyday ‘staved’ items such as churns, buckets and tubs and were generally proficient at ‘hooping’ too as a secondary skill.

Historical Biographies War of Independence

James Mary Quain

on this day: a tragic loss of young life

On this day May 10th 1921, a young man named James Quain lost his life during an engagement in the War of Independence. That day a party of British Marines from Ardmore Coast Guard Station were on patrol carrying out ‘round-up’ operations in the Piltown/Monatrea area. Some local volunteers and others from the Flying Column itself were in the vicinity of Monatrea when four or five of them became isolated not far from Moord Cross Roads and were taken by complete surprise by the Marines. The volunteers had to flee and disperse under heavy fire, with the tragic result being that young James Quain from Youghal was mortally wounded as he tried to get away.

Built Heritage

Ballyheeny Castle

BALLyheeny castle: A STRONGHOLD OF the desmonds

The only remaining castle ruins standing in the parish of Clashmore today are that of Ballyheeny Castle which sits high on the banks of the River Lickey just a few hundred yards west of Ballyheeny Bridge. Its location on the river bank gave it direct access upstream by boat from the expansive River Blackwater. Today only the south-facing wall survives and being fully camouflaged in ivy it is quite difficult to pick out of the landscape from a distance, especially in summer-time.

Ecclesiastical Heritage

Kinsalebeg Church

kinsalebeg church & graveyard (prospect hall)

We were delighted in recent weeks to find an excuse to get outdoors when collaborating with the @Historicgraves team to finally survey the old graveyard at Kinsalebeg Church (otherwise know as Prospect Hall) which is the fourth and last remaining graveyard to be surveyed in this parish and it turned up some very interesting finds indeed.

Ecclesiastical Heritage

The Ronayne Chalice

The ‘Thomas Ronayne’ Chalice of 1637

We previously cast a ‘spotlight’ on the townland of D’Loughtane elsewhere on this site, and as detailed there the D’Loughtane Estate was the long-time seat of the Ronayne Family, reputedly from at least the year 1450 up to 1854 when the last of the D’Loughtane Ronaynes moved to Youghal, although their cousins remained in seat at nearby Ardsallagh House until 1963. The full history of this Ronayne family has been written about extensively and can be traced via some of the references below.

D’Loughtane House c. 1910
Historical Biographies War of Independence

Cumann na mBan

A Brief local history of the cumann na mban

Cumann na mBan or the “Irishwomen’s Council” was founded in April of 1914 at Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin and was a Nationalist organisation which aligned closely with the Irish Volunteer movement. Initially much of their activities on a local level involved fundraising and providing first-aid training for their members, but their primary objective of “advancing the cause of Irish liberty” and to “assist in arming and equipping a body of Irish men for the defence of Ireland” would ring more and more true as Ireland approached the revolutionary events of Easter 1916 and latterly during the War of Independence.

Cumann na mBan Poster
Industrial Heritage

Rural Electrification

ESB Rural Electrification of Clashmore in 1958

The ESB Rural Electrification Scheme rolled into the Clashmore District in the Spring of 1958 covering the areas of Clashmore, Piltown, Aglish & Villierstown. It was stated in the local press that “the introduction of this scheme should mark the beginning of a new era of progress and prosperity for the people of the district. It will eliminate drudgery and make life easier for all and on the farm will make for efficiency and lower production costs…” and it was initially expected to cost approx. £120,000.

Historical Biographies War of Independence

Alice Colfer

Alice Colfer, Cumann na mBan (& her links to Clashmore)

Alice Colfer was a committed Nationalist and from a Waterford perspective was an early pioneer of the Cumann na mBan movement in the city, along with the likes of Rosamond Jacob et al. She was also an ardent supporter of the Conradh na Gaeilge movement and officiated for the Waterford City branch of that organisation and culturally important sub-groups such as the Waterford Feis. But admittedly what really piqued our interest in Alice was her earlier association with the parish of Clashmore…



D’Loughtane (and various other designations)

We recently came across the following Waterford maps courtesy of Twitter friends @TimeFinding – one from 1685 by William Petty and the other from 1746.

What caught our eye initially were the various townland designations show on both maps for the parish of Clashmore & Kinsalebeg (some of which are quite cryptic!), but the one that stands out has to be the different names given for the contemporary townland of D’Loughtane.