Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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
Categories
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…

Categories
Historical Biographies

The Great War

Our Great War Heroes

Ireland was still part of the British Empire in the first decade of the 20th century, but a wave of nationalistic spirit was ensuring that any remaining loyalties to the crown were ebbing away by the year. This was the historical backdrop which accompanied those Irish men who elected to enlist in the British Army for service before or during The Great War of 1914. No doubt this was not an easy decision, but with this said it was paid service and employment and any decent prospects were scarce in many areas of our country at the time.

Categories
Historical Biographies

Notable Figures

Lawrence O’Brien, Merchant, Politician (1792 – 1870)

Laurence was born in Clashmore, County Waterford and came to Newfoundland sometime between 1808 and 1810 and within 10 years had established at Water Street, St. Johns the business of Lawrence O’Brien and Company, a wholesale and retail trading company. O’Brien owned a wharf, warehouses and a retail store, and was also the owner of several trading ships, aswell as being involved in the seal fishery.